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Officials sound alarm about new Russian 'space threat'

Russia is developing a space-based military capability that members of Congress and U.S. officials worry could pose a significant threat to the United States and its allies, possibly by damaging critical intelligence or communications satellites with a nuclear weapon, according to officials familiar with the matter.

The precise nature of the system was unclear. One person referred to it as "a new Russian space threat capability." Some officials were alarmed after examining classified intelligence on Wednesday and warned of ominous consequences; one member of Congress called it a potential "geo-strategic game changer." Several lawmakers stressed there was no imminent danger, but they urged the Biden administration to take countermeasures soon.

The Russian government has experimented with the use of nuclear explosions or directed energy to disable satellites, according to one U.S. official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. Experts have raised concerns that a nation could detonate a nuclear weapon in space to interfere with satellites through the emission of radiation.


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