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Russia Vetoes UNSC Resolution to Prevent Nuclear weapons in Space

UNSC Meeting. Credit: UNSC

Thessaloniki, 30 April 2024. – On Wednesday, 24 April 2024, Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, which the US and Japan spearheaded, aiming to call on all states to prevent the placement of nuclear weapons in space and not take steps to develop weapons of mass destruction that are deployable above Earth.

Thirteen member nations voted in approval of the UN. Security Council resolution, while China abstained from the vote. Both Russia and China are permanent members of the UNSC and can either veto resolutions or abstain from voting, which they occasionally do.

In a press conference that took place after the vote, US Ambassador Robert Wood, the alternate representative for special political affairs at the UN, said the resolution “would have reaffirmed the shared goal of preventing an arms race in outer space and urged exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.” Ambassador Wood further added that, “We are incredibly disappointed by the result of today’s vote. But we remain undeterred.” “We will continue to show up to the negotiating table in good faith, and encourage bilateral arms control discussions with Russia and China, right now, without preconditions.”

Russia is one of 115 parties to the Outer Space Treaty. If it had passed, the resolution would have affirmed a binding obligation in Article IV of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which says nations are “not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction.” Instead, this negative UNSC vote entertains further concerns following reports in February 2024 that Russia is developing a nuclear anti-satellite weapon.

SpaceWatch.Global will host a Space Cafe Geopolitics “33 minutes with Dr Jessica West” on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024, on the topic and the consequences. Register here  or watch the live stream here: 

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Space Cafe Geopolitics “33 minutes with Dr Jessica West” on nukes in space, 2024 edition

This Space Café Geopolitics will feature Dr Jessica West, Senior Researcher at Project Ploughshares, in conversation with Torsten Kriening, Publisher of SpaceWatch.Global. Nukes in Space, a 2024 edition and an analysis of the Russian veto at the UN Security Council. Last week, Wednesday 24 April 2024, Russia vetoed the UN Security Council’s resolution to reaffirm the Outer Space Treaty’s ban on weapons of mass destruction in space crafted by the US and Japan. That veto was set in the same week that at UN COPUOS in Vienna the Legal Subcommittee had their 63th session.