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U.S.-Russia Space Security Meeting Ends without Statements

July 28, 2020 (EIRNS)—U.S. and Russian delegations met in Vienna on July 27 for the first Space Security Exchange (SSE) dialogue between the two countries. The delegations ended the day, however, without a joint declaration or individual statements, leaving news organizations speculating that the two sides failed to find any common ground. Trump Administration officials had hoped that the meeting in Vienna would lead to the establishment of a set of voluntary norms for operating in space and possibly a new communications channel to link space officials on each side, the Wall Street Journal reported. But Russia has advocated a different approach: a formal treaty against the placement of weapons in space, reflecting Moscow’s long-standing push to head off a potential U.S. effort to develop space-based antimissile defenses.

Meanwhile, the British Empire’s Chatham House (Royal Institute for International Affairs) has weighed in to ensure that Russia is treated as the enemy in outer space. Two research fellows, Dr. Beyza Unal of the International Security Program and Mathieu Boulègue of the Russia and Eurasia Program, wrote in a paper posted just ahead of the SSE meeting that Russia is the one that must prove it’s not weaponizing outer space. “By exploiting asymmetric advantages in space, Russia seeks to leverage its capabilities against competitors in space and in other domains,” they write. “This falls in line with Russia’s wider military strategy as well as its current Federal Space Program for 2016 to 2025.”

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