Source Pravda.Ru

Putin criticizes USA’s plans to base weapons in space

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday criticized U.S. plans for space-based weapons, saying it was the reason behind a recent Chinese anti-satellite weapons test.

Asked about the Chinese test at a news conference in New Delhi after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Putin avoided directly criticizing the Chinese, saying only that Russia was against putting any weapons in space.

Instead Putin chose to issue a warning to the U.S. on the dangers of the militarization of space.

"At the same time, I would like to note that China was not the first country to conduct such a test," Putin said.

The Jan. 11 test, first reported last week by the magazine Aviation Week, destroyed a defunct Chinese weather satellite by hitting it with a warhead launched on board a ballistic missile.

"The first such test was conducted back in the late 1980s and we also hear it today about the U.S. military circles considering plans of militarization of space. We must not let the genie out of the bottle," Putin said.

U.S. President George W. Bush signed an order in October tacitly asserting the U.S. right to space weapons and opposing the development of treaties or other measures restricting them.

Bush has also pushed an ambitious program of space-based missile defense and the Pentagon is working on missiles, ground lasers and other technology to shoot down satellites, the AP reports.

The test, confirmed by Beijing on Tuesday after nearly a two-week silence, has drawn criticism from the U.S. and Japan.

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