Monday, November 27, 2023

Russia has right to shoot down Starlink satellites — US analyst

Russia would be fully within its right to destroy Starlink satellites that are used by Ukrainian forces, Major Jeremy Grunert, an officer in the US Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps, said at a conference in Belfast.

"In the realm of the law of war, a nation needs to target military targets and to refrain from targeting civilian targets," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph. ""But civilian targets could perhaps be targeted if it was providing a military benefit."

"For example, right before the D-Day invasions, the bridges leading into Normandy and the railways leading into Normandy were all bombed because of the military benefit that was provided to the Germans," he went on to say. "It’s the same thing in outer space and certainly, the way in which civilian systems like Starlink have been used for drone targeting arguably would make Starlink a potential military target under the laws of war."

He said the use of Starlink for military purposes "proved to be somewhat controversial" at Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the company that operates the satellites.

Russia has legitimate grounds to say that civilian infrastructure becomes a target for military strikes if it’s used by Ukrainian forces, the officer said.

"There was some shock at the time that those comments were made. But in the context of the law of war, the Russians are likely not wrong on that, because of the military benefits that those sorts of things can provide," he said. "It doesn’t mean that civilian satellites would be targeted or targeted all the time. But it does mean that they potentially could be.".[TASS]

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