Earlier on Monday, U.S. Space Command warned of a “debris-generating event” in space and said it was coordinating with other countries to help ensure the safety of their equipment in orbit.
“We are actively working to characterize the debris field and will continue to ensure all space-faring nations have the information necessary to maneuver satellites if impacted,” the command said in a statement, which did not mention Russia.
When the State Department ultimately confirmed Moscow’s responsibility for the debris field Monday afternoon, Price warned the test “will significantly increase the risk to astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station, as well as to other human spaceflight activities.”
“Russia’s dangerous and irresponsible behavior jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of our outer space and clearly demonstrates that Russia’s claims of opposing the weaponization of space are disingenuous and hypocritical,” Price said. “The United States will work with our allies and partners to respond to Russia’s irresponsible act.”
At the Pentagon, spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that Russia did not warn the U.S. of the test ahead of time. “This was an irresponsible act,” he said.
“We watch closely the kinds of capabilities that Russia seems to want to develop which could pose a threat not just to our national security interests but the security interests of other spacefaring nations,” Kirby said. “And again, we’ve been very clear, we would like to see norms for space so that it can be used responsibly by all spacefaring nations.”
Roscosmos, Russia’s state-run space corporation, tweeted Monday in reference to the debris: “The orbit of the object … has moved away from the [International Space Station] orbit. The station is in the green zone.”
The debris field forced astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the station to seek shelter in their respective Crew Dragon and Soyuz spacecraft, according to reports.