Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy head of the Russian delegation to the UN, said on Thursday that U.S. commercial satellites used in Ukraine “for military purposes” could be a “legitimate target” for Russian strikes.
Speaking at the discussion on the disarmament of space held during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly he accused the United States and its allies of “using civil infrastructure in space” for military purposes.
“We would like to emphasize the extremely dangerous trend that goes beyond the harmless use of space technologies, which clearly manifested itself in the course of events in Ukraine,” Vorontsov said, noting that it includes commercial satellites.
“These states apparently do not fully realize that such activities, in fact, constitute indirect participation in armed conflicts. Quasi-civilian infrastructure could be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike,” he added.
Vorontsov was apparently referring to the Starlink terminals supplied to Ukraine by Elon Musk’s SpaceX since the first days of the Russian invasion. Nearly 20,000 terminals were sent to Ukraine providing the country with internet service amid the intensified attack on its energy infrastructure and subsequent power cuts.
Last week, Musk said that Russia is “trying to kill” the Starlink.
“Starlink is the only comms (communications) system still working at warfront – others all dead. Russia is actively trying to kill Starlink. To safeguard, SpaceX has diverted massive resources towards defense. Even so, Starlink may still die,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
The U.S. billionaire has previously said he couldn’t keep funding the Starlink services in Ukraine, which cost him $20 million a month, and suggested that the U.S. military should pay for it. However, he later tweeted that his company will “keep funding Ukraine govt for free.”