LONDON/KYIV, Oct 27 (Reuters) – A senior Russian government official raised the possibility that Moscow could shoot down commercial Western satellites being used to help Ukraine’s war effort, as Russia pressed ahead with its bombing campaign against Ukrainian infrastructure.
If acted on, the threat would inevitably raise fears about spiralling escalation of the eight-month-old conflict and the risk of direct confrontation between Russia and the West.
There was no immediate reaction from the United States or commercial satellite providers.
Konstantin Vorontsov, a senior Russian foreign ministry official, said the use of Western satellites to aid the Ukrainian war effort was “an extremely dangerous trend”.
“Quasi-civilian infrastructure may be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike,” he told the United Nations First Committee, adding that the West’s use of such satellites to support Ukraine was “provocative”.
“We are talking about the involvement of components of civilian space infrastructure, including commercial, by the United States and its allies in armed conflicts,” said Vorontsov.
He did not mention any specific satellite companies, though Elon Musk said earlier this month that his rocket company SpaceX would continue to fund its Starlink internet service in Ukraine, citing the need for “good deeds”.