US commercial satellites, which are used during the war to help Ukraine, could become “legitimate targets” for a Russian strike, Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for nonproliferation and arms control, said .
“We are talking about the involvement of the United States and its allies of civil infrastructure components in space, including commercial ones, in armed conflicts. Quasi-civilian infrastructure could be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike,” said a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
According to him, "these states obviously do not fully realize that such activities, in essence, constitute indirect participation in armed conflicts."
Data from US commercial satellites helps track the movement of Russian troops. Journalists use the pictures to investigate war crimes committed by Russian soldiers. Satellite images of Maxar regularly appear in the media.
After the outbreak of war, Elon Musk's Starlink satellite Internet terminals began operating in Ukraine and became a vital source of communication for the Ukrainian military, allowing them to fight and stay connected even when cellular communications and Internet networks were destroyed. About 20,000 Starlink satellites were handed over to Ukraine. According to Elon Musk, all this cost his company SpaceX $ 80 million.
In October, SpaceX told the Pentagon that it could no longer supply and maintain Starlink terminals in Ukraine for free and asked the US Department of Defense to take over these costs. However, after a public discussion of the issue, Musk eventually announced that the company would still continue to provide communications for the APU.
In November 2021, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the testing of anti-satellite weapons. As a result, the inactive Russian spacecraft Tselina-D, which had been in orbit since the 1980s, was destroyed. The United States then accused Russia of endangering the ISS. State Department spokesman Ned Price then said that 1,500 fragments of space debris were formed due to the tests.
In early October, the Russian Ministry of Defenseannounced that it was conducting "experiments with spacecraft of foreign states." What these experiments were, the department did not specify.