In Search of a Legal Solution to the Weaponisation of Space: A Russian Perspective

Author: Yevgeny K. Zvedre1

Published in National Security Journal, 09 July 2020

Download full PDF version – In Search of Legal Solution to the Weaponisation of Space: A Russian Perspective (700KB)


This article is primarily focused on the diplomatic efforts aimed at preventing the weaponisation of outer space, or development of weapon systems designed to destroy targets, either orbital or terrestrial, or from the ground in outer space. Along with that, a number of anti-satellite weapon projects that both the United States (US) and the Soviet Union/Russia have been developing since the 1950s are briefly described as examples of their military competition in space. Highlighted is the work that has been done within the United Nations (UN) context to develop a corpus of universal principles and norms governing international exploration of outer space as the common heritage of humankind, free from the use of force. The author also highlights the positive role that arms control treaties have been playing in preventing deployment of weapons in space. Particular emphasis is given to the potential consequences for global security should attack weapons appear in outer space, and to the importance of a further targeted effort by the international community to work out additional regulations strengthening space security. In this regard, draft treaties on the prevention of weapons in space introduced by Russia and China, and the European Union’s International Code of conduct for Space are emphasised.

Keywords: Weaponisation of Space, Principles and Norms Governing Peaceful Exploration of Outer Space, Anti-satellite Weapon Systems, Further Development of International Space Law, Initiatives to Prevent Deployment of Attack Weapons in Space, Space Security.


1 Yevgeny Zvedre is a retired Russian career diplomat with more than 35 years experience in the Soviet and Russian diplomatic services. His background is in scientific diplomacy, non-proliferation, and international security issues. In the 2000s he served as Science and Technology Attaché at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington, D.C. and in the 1980s and 1990s was involved in strategic arms control negotiations, ABM Treaty compliance issues and international space cooperation. Prior to this he worked on regional affairs with a focus on Southeast Asia. Mr. Zvedre has authored articles on space, missile non-proliferation, and export controls.