The United States is concerned about the appearance of a Russian “matryoshka satellite” in space orbit, which is capable of knocking out American vehicles. This was stated by the head of the US Space Command, General John Raymond, during a speech at the US Air Force conference on space.
“Russia has [in orbit] a matryoshka satellite equipped with weapons to destroy American satellites. This makes it impossible for us to use space as a platform that multiplies our capabilities,” he said (quoted by Sputnik).
Raymond likened the device to a Russian national toy, since he allegedly has another satellite hidden in his body, inside of which there is a “space weapon”. According to the general, the satellite is aimed at destroying US space assets, which are needed to help US Air Force bombers target smart munitions.
Earlier, Britain also accused Russia of allegedly launching satellites that “possess the characteristics of weapons” and could potentially be used in the destruction of other spacecraft. According to the head of the British Air Force Mike Wigston, Moscow and Beijing are engaged in “dubious” things – for example, their satellites fly in close proximity to spacecraft of other countries – as well as other “dangerous activities.” He believes that Russia and China are collecting intelligence data in space.
Moscow's actions in space have also been repeatedly criticized in the United States. In December 2020, the head of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, accused Russia of “provocative behavior” in space, which creates a “potentially dangerous situation.” A week later, the Pentagon's space command announced that Russia was testing a direct intercept anti-satellite missile.
Last year, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Colonel-General Sergei Surovikin, reported that in 2022 Russia plans to begin deploying a promising satellite communications system in space that will be able to track missile launches and small spacecraft from other countries. According to him, the entire orbital constellation of new satellites will be launched into low-earth orbit by 2024.