Russia has agreed with Sierra Leone not to deploy space weapons. Why?

  • Pavel Aksenov
  • BBC Russian Service

Photographer, English MOD

Last week, Russia agreed with Sierra Leone not to be the first to place weapons in space, and before that it concluded similar agreements with Venezuela, Cambodia, Togo, Uruguay, Burundi and a dozen other countries that have apparently not yet begun space exploration.

For several years now, Russia has signed joint declarations not to be the first to place weapons in space with countries that do not have large space programs – neither civilian nor military. In addition to African, Latin American and Asian countries, such statements have been signed with, for example, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and others.

These statements are made for a reason, but as part of Russia’s No First Deployment of Weapons in Space (NPOF) initiative, which has been in place since 2004.

On the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these agreements are called “the highest form of intergovernmental transparency and mutual trust”, as well as “the most effective and truly effective measure to prevent the withdrawal of weapons in space.”

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