Status: Open

The Security Index Occasional Paper Series Came Out With The New Report “Development Of A Legal Regime For Anti-Satellite Weapons: Russia’s Optimal Position” By Daniil Rastegaev

March 29, 2022

MOSCOW. MARCH 29, 2022. PIR PRESS. The Security Index Occasional Paper Series came out with the new report “Development of a legal regime for anti-satellite weapons: Russia’s optimal position” by Daniil Rastegaev.

This research paper is devoted to the consideration of the development and introduction of the legal regime of ASAT / space weapons in the context of the history of the development of weapons themselves and initiatives to control them. The goal of the paper is to propose a matrix of initiatives to establish a legal regime for space weapons that can be promoted by Russian diplomacy in the interests of preventing a space arms race.

Key findings:

  • So far, only four countries have ASAT technologies: Russia, the USA, China, and India. At the same time, only Russia and the United States have the widest range of ASAT capabilities, although China is gradually approaching their level.
  • There is currently no legal regime for ASAT in the full sense of the word. Today’s international legal framework does not impose restrictions on the development, arming and testing of such weapons, and also does not directly establish responsibility for the use of ASAT.
  • The focus of the negotiations has shifted to space weapons, from solving the problem of ASAT directly to the problem of weaponization of space. Russian and Chinese projects in this area compete with Western ones. At the same time, platforms for discussing the use of space with the one-time participation of representatives of the governments of the Russian Federation, China, the United States and Western countries have not yet yielded significant results.
  • There are many approaches to the establishment of a legal regime for ASAT / space weapons, from the prohibition of all types to the regulation of their use. Nevertheless, any legal regime, even the «softest» one, is vital in the interests of preventing a space arms race.
  • Russian diplomacy has in its arsenal important initiatives on PAROS, NFP, TCBMs, which can be adapted to the new requirements of the time. The issue of establishing a legal regime for ASAT / space weapons can become an important tool for unblocking contacts between Russia and the United States, Russia and the West.

Read the report (in Russian)