Russia vetoed a US attempt to stop countries putting nukes in space — exactly what the Kremlin is accused of trying to do

Russia vetoed a US- and Japan-led UN resolution aimed at stopping a nuclear arms space race.

Russia used its Security Council veto on Wednesday to block a resolution calling on countries to work toward the “prevention of an arms race in outer space.”

The resolution also sought to reaffirm existing treaties that oblige countries “not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction,” per the UN press service.

Thirteen member countries voted for the resolution, with China abstaining.

Russia was the only country to vote against it.

Russia’s move comes amid concerns in the White House that Russia is developing a satellite capable of carrying a nuclear device.

In February, US lawmakers were reportedly briefed on intelligence about the threat.

Soon after, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had no intention of putting nuclear arms in space.

The White House reacted to Wednesday’s vote, saying: “We have heard President Putin say publicly that Russia has no intention of deploying nuclear weapons in space. If that were the case, Russia would not have vetoed this resolution.”

“What could you possibly be hiding?” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said. “It’s baffling. And it’s a shame.”

However, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called the resolution “politicized,” and said it didn’t go far enough, the Associated Press reported.

Russia and China had proposed an amendment to the resolution calling on all states to prevent weapons and any threat or use of force in outer space “for all time.”

Nebenzia also accused the US of blocking a long-standing treaty proposal from Russia and China barring weapons in space, per the AP.

In an interview with Arms Control Today magazine ahead of the vote, US Assistant Secretary of State Mallory Stewart was critical of such proposals for being vague and unenforceable.

“We’ve seen where countries propose treaties, such as the prevention of placement of weapons in outer space treaty that Russia and China have pushed for many years, without even an accepted common definition of what a ‘weapon’ in space is,” she said.

Following the vote, the US Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, said that the resolution would have “helped prevent the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear detonation in space.”

“Needless to say, we are incredibly disappointed by the result of today’s vote,” he added.

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Mia Jankowicz