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US calms fears after reports of Russian anti-satellite ‘nuclear-capable weapon’

The White House has attempted to quell fears after news spread in the United States (US) that Russia is developing a nuclear-capable weapon that could destroy American satellites.  

Rumors began on February 14, 2024, after the Head of the House Intelligence Committee said that he had seen information about a serious “national security threat”. 

Mike Turner, a Republican Representative in Ohio, announced the news in a statement through social media and asked that President Joe Biden declassify all the information relating to the “threat”. 

The Intelligence Committee “has made available to all members of Congress information concerning a serious national security threat,” Turner wrote. 

However, Turner gave no further details regarding the “threat”, leaving much of the public in the dark. 

Statement from Chairman @RepMikeTurner: pic.twitter.com/OA9yJuEPlf

— House Intelligence Committee (@HouseIntel) February 14, 2024

CBS News subsequently learnt from a US official, who was not authorized to discuss the information publicly, that the development related to Russia building anti-satellite space-based nuclear-capable weapons.   

On February 15, 2024, the White House stepped in to shed some light on the situation and confirmed that Russia is developing “anti-satellite capability”. 

“This is not an active capability that’s been deployed, and though Russia’s pursuit of this particular capability is troubling, there is no immediate threat to anyone’s safety,” national security spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing. 

He later added: “We’re not talking about a weapon that can be used to attack human beings or cause physical destruction here on Earth.” 

According to Kirby, the US has long been aware that Russia has been seeking to gain anti-satellite capabilities. 

“Only in recent weeks now has the intelligence community been able to assess with a higher sense of confidence exactly how Russia continues to pursue it.”   

Kirby did not mention whether Russia’s methods involved the use of nuclear capabilities. 

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