UN Security Council rejects Russian resolution on space weapons ban

However, the U.S. and allies said the Russian text was an attempt at “diplomatic gaslighting” meant to distract from Moscow’s own behavior that could lead to the weaponization of space.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday voted down a Russian-backed resolution that aimed to prohibit all weapons in outer space, a move the United States condemned as hypocritical given recent Russian actions.

The defeated draft resolution called for establishing legally binding measures to prevent the placement of any kind of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against space objects.

However, the U.S. and allies said the Russian text was an attempt at “diplomatic gaslighting” meant to distract from Moscow’s own behaviour that could lead to the weaponization of space.

He accused Russia of last week launching a satellite “with characteristics of a weapon” that could be part of moves toward placing offensive capabilities in space.

Wood and others urged the council to instead support a previously failed U.S.-Japanese draft focused specifically on preventing an arms race involving weapons of mass destruction in outer space.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said his country’s resolution represented “a unique moment of truth” to show opposition to the militarization of space.

Ultimately, the Russian draft garnered support from only Russia, China, Belarus and seven other countries – falling short of the nine “yes” votes required for adoption by the 15-member Security Council.

The division highlights increasing tensions and a lack of consensus around establishing binding rules to keep space a weapons-free zone amid rapid technological advances and rising geopolitical tensions.

Diplomats have warned that without a new legally binding instrument, the risks increase for a space arms race and space-based conflict that could have devastating consequences.

Tuesday’s duelling votes reflect that both Moscow and Washington are interested in curbing space weapons – but remain fundamentally split on how to approach the issue and apportion responsibility.