“Russia has always opposed and continues to oppose the militarization of space,” the Russian president told a government meeting on military policies on Wednesday, RT reported.
Putin expressed concern over world powers increasing the capabilities of their space systems which have both military and dual-use applications.
“The US political and military leadership openly consider space a war theater,” he said.
“Developments demand that we pay increased attention to strengthening our orbital group as well as our rocket and space industries.”
Russia’s orbital group is a constellation of more than 150 satellites, most of which are parts of military satellite communication systems; but Moscow also has satellites monitoring the launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as short-range tactical missiles.
This warning system was “significantly enhanced” and tested successfully during large-scale military drills in October, President Putin said.
His words, meanwhile, came as NATO finally made space its official war domain. During a summit in London on the 70th anniversary of the alliance on Wednesday, its members declared space “the fifth operational domain and committed to ensuring the security of telecommunications infrastructure, including 5G.”
NATO perceives Russia as a “threat.” The alliance severed ties with Moscow in 2014 and has since continued to build up a military presence in the Baltic region, on Russia’s western borders.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has taken an increasing interest in space, announcing the establishment of a new Space Force branch of the military last year, despite opposition from the Pentagon.
The US claims that both China and Russia have been seeking to militarize space. Analysts say the US exaggerates the space military capabilities of Russia and China as a pretext to accelerate its own plans to prepare for space warfare.