U.S. and Biden Admin Spoke to Allies About Russia’s Space Nukes

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Mar 01, 2024

After House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner released a statement about a cryptic threat the United States faced, the news shortly broke that Russia was attempting to develop a nuclear space weapon. Now, more sources are opening up about what the U.S. and its allies know — and don’t know — about Russia’s plans.

Though the development of Russian space nukes wasn’t common knowledge more than a week ago, a select few U.S. officials and politicians were made aware of the growing threat. While this threat does remain, it appears the U.S. government is attempting to calm the public down.

Representative Mike Turner’s Revelations

On February 14, House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, released a statement indicating that the public — and many in Congress — were unaware of an escalating threat from a foreign adversary.

Representative Mike Turner in an official portrait with an American flag behind him.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Turner claimed that this national security threat was dire. In his statement, he requested that President Joe Biden and the White House declassify all of the information revolving around this threat.


The Russia Reveal

When this news first broke, many wondered what Turner’s mysterious statement was hinting at. Soon enough, the news leaked that Russia was working on creating and deploying a nuclear space weapon. Russia has since denied these reports.

Vladimir Putin sitting in a chair and talking, his side profile seen.

Source: Kremlin.ru/Wikimedia Commons

Though Turner’s statement made it appear as if Russia was very close to deploying a never-before-seen space nuke, the White House quickly calmed people down by saying this space weapon had not yet been deployed.

Russian Intending to Target Satellites

As more news about this Russian space weapon leaked, a clearer picture began to form. According to intelligence sources, this nuclear weapon is not intended to harm people. Instead, it’s being created to potentially destroy and take down U.S. satellites in space.

A close-up view of a satellite in orbit above the planet Earth.

Source: NASA/Unsplash

If this occurs, then both commercial and government satellites will stop working. This could mean that people could not use their cell phones or go on the internet. It would majorly change the modern-day world as we know it.

U.S. Tells Allies About Russian Space Nukes

News also broke that the U.S. government had been informing its allies around the world about what Russia was working on. Specifically, U.S. intelligence agencies had been talking to their closest European counterparts about Russia’s plans.

A satellite train trail in a dark starry night sky.

Source: Anthony Cantin/Unsplash

According to these conversations between allies, the U.S. believes Russia will try to launch some type of nuclear space weapon into orbit this year.

Russia May Fool the World

However, that’s not all the U.S. reportedly told their allies. They also warned them that, though Russia wants to deploy this nuclear space weapon, they may choose to fool the world and their enemies instead.

The Kremlin in Russia during a cloudy and snowy day.

Source: Michael Parulava/Unsplash

The U.S., therefore, believes that Russia may launch a dummy warhead into orbit. However, the U.S. and its allies may not be aware that this warhead does not have nuclear capabilities. This could leave both the U.S. and its allies in the dark about what Russia has launched.


The U.S. Tried to Stop Russia

U.S. intelligence officials have known about Russia’s nuclear space project for weeks. Since learning about Russia’s intent, they have been trying to deter them from going through with this plan.

A satellite over a coast, with a blue ocean and brown land seen below it.

Source: SpaceX/Unsplash

According to officials, one of the main reasons why the U.S. kept this a secret is because they felt that they could convince Russia to back off this project in private talks. Now that everything has become public, Russian officials have ceased talking with the U.S. about this issue.


U.S. Reached Out to China and India

While the U.S. reached out to its closest European allies, officials also got in contact with China and India about Russia’s advancing space weapons. U.S. officials talked to their counterparts from both countries about how Russia could potentially take down their satellites as well.

A red and yellow Chinese flag flies above a city’s streets, surrounded by tall buildings, in the daytime.

Source: Yan Ke/Unsplash

Thanks to these talks, officials from all three countries were set to discuss this growing issue on February 17 at the Munich Security Conference.


Mike Turner Faces Criticism Over Statement

A few days after Turner’s statement was released, some of Turner’s fellow Republicans openly criticized him for seemingly causing alarm throughout the country. Representative Andy Ogles accused Turner of either trying to send more money to Ukraine through this announcement, or attempting to renew FISA, a surveillance power.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shaking hands with House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner in a gold and blue room.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Other Republicans backed Turner’s decision, however. Representative Dan Crenshaw supported Turner and said his critics calling for him to be investigated need to stop. “I am tired of people making extremely passionate, opinionated actions based on no knowledge,” he said.


The Timing of Turner’s Statement

Some critics, such as Representative Ogles, have noted the timing of Turner’s statement. Turner publicly has backed sending more aid to Ukraine, something some other Republicans do not want.

Mike Turner with others of the U.S. Congress Delegation as they visit Ukraine during the time of war, a Ukrainian flag outside behind them.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, his statement was released just hours before the House was supposed to vote on reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). However, Crenshaw and others don’t believe these two situations have anything to do with Turner’s statement. “It’s a coincidence,” Crenshaw said.


Turner Defends His Actions

Turner has also defended his own actions. According to the House Intelligence Chair, he believed that the government needed to be more aware of what Russia was doing.

Rep. Mike Turner and others walk alongside military men as they visit USSPACECOM.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

“We need to make certain that we avert what could be an international crisis,” Turner said. “I was concerned that it appeared that the administration was sleepwalking into an international crisis. But it looks like now they’re going to be able to take action.”


The White House Says Russian Space Nukes Aren't Urgent

Though Turner’s statement resulted in mass alarm in the country, the White House has tried its best to calm people and the media down about Russia’s nuclear space capabilities.

The White House with a green lawn before it, surrounded by green trees, under a blue sky in the daytime.

Source: David Everett Strickler/Unsplash

According to the administration, Russia has not deployed these types of weapons yet — though they are working on them. However, they are saying this issue is not urgent.