Russia says it could attack western commercial satellites

Putin claims world is entering its most dangerous period since second World War

Moscow has warned that it could attack western commercial satellites in space that are being used to provide military intelligence to Ukraine, as Russian leader Vladimir Putin said the world was entering its most dangerous period since the second World War.

Heavy fighting continued in eastern and southern Ukraine, and Kyiv city hall told residents of the capital and surrounding region to prepare for “unprecedented” power cuts after another wave of Russian air strikes on critical energy infrastructure.

Mr Putin again blamed the United States and its allies for provoking his invasion of Ukraine, and insisted that Russia had sought the friendship of the West before being forced to defend its own security and interests in the face of aggression from western powers that refuse to accept that their influence is waning and other countries are on the rise.

“The unipolar world is a thing of the past. We stand at a historical frontier. Ahead is the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time most important decade since the end of the second World War,” he told a political forum in Moscow on Thursday.


He also dismissed fears that Russia could use a nuclear weapon or radiological “dirty bomb” in Ukraine as part of a western campaign to discredit and isolate his country.

Earlier, senior Russian foreign ministry Konstantin Vorontsov told a United Nations meeting about what he called “an extremely dangerous tendency that has become manifest in the course of developments in Ukraine — I mean the United States and its allies using elements of civil infrastructure facilities, including commercial ones, in armed conflicts.”

“Quasi-civil infrastructure may become a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike. As a result of the actions of the West, the stability of civilian space activities ... is being exposed to unjustified risks,” he added.

Ukraine has relied heavily on Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet network to maintain communications in war-torn eastern and southern regions, and is believed to have used images from other commercially owned satellites to aid its military operations.

Russia launched more missiles strikes on Thursday against several Ukrainian cities and the country’s badly damaged electricity grid, forcing power operator Ukrenergo to enforce more rolling blackouts to reduce pressure on the network and facilitate vital repairs.

“Russia again attacked energy infrastructure facilities. A number of critically important facilities of the country have been disabled. As a result, there was a capacity deficit of 30 per cent of consumption in Kyiv and the region,” Kyiv city hall announced.

“To prevent a total blackout of the capital and central regions of Ukraine ... Ukrenergo is introducing unprecedented emergency restrictions ... Unfortunately, more severe and longer blackouts will be implemented in the coming days,” the Kyiv administration said, while urging residents and businesses to use power as sparingly as possible.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk has urged the country’s millions of refugees not to return home this winter “because the [power] networks won’t be able to cope.”

“If possible, stay abroad for the winter ... We will survive the winter and then figure out everything else,” she said.

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe