Jeffrey LewisPutin Calls for Space Weapons Ban

In a speech on the 43rd anniversary of Yuri Gagarin/’s epochal spaceflight, President Vladimir Putin called for the demilitarization of outer space:

“We all know that for many years, space was an area for military and political rivalry. Today, we are doing, and must do, everything to demilitarize space. And by turning it into an arena of international cooperation, cooperation founded on trust, careful calculation and clear understanding of all national interests, we must do everything to ensure that space exploration is of an exclusively peaceful nature.”

Putin/’s comment is actually a bit broader than the Russian proposal at the Conference on Disarmament – which was advanced as a joint proposal with several other countries, including China. The Basic Obligations in the joint document are:

(1) Not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kinds of weapons, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies, or not to station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.

(2) Not to resort to the threat or use of force against outer space objects.

(3) Not to assist or encourage other States, groups of States, international organizations to participate in activities prohibited by this Treaty.