WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House confirmed on Thursday that Russia has acquired an emerging anti-satellite weapon, described as “troubling” by officials. However, they emphasized that the weapon does not pose an immediate threat of “physical destruction” on Earth.

John Kirby, the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, stated that while Russia has obtained the capability, the weapon is not currently operational. U.S. intelligence officials are actively analyzing the information and consulting with allies.

Kirby clarified, “This is not an active capability that’s been deployed. Russia’s pursuit is troubling, but there’s no immediate threat to safety, and it cannot be used to attack human beings or cause destruction on Earth.”

The confirmation followed a vague warning from Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, prompting the Biden administration to declassify information about the national security threat.

Kirby acknowledged a careful and deliberate process of reviewing and declassifying aspects of the Russian capability. Russia downplayed U.S. concerns, with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov calling it a ruse to garner U.S. Congress support for aid to Ukraine.

The weapon’s space-based nature would violate an international space treaty signed by over 130 countries, including Russia.

The White House expressed intentions to engage directly with Russia on the matter, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan was set to brief lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Despite frustrations with Turner’s approach, Kirby assured the public of a strategic and deliberate disclosure of intelligence, prioritizing the safety and information of Congress, international partners, and the American people.

U.S. intelligence officials have concerns about broad declassification, reflecting years of awareness of Russia’s pursuit of anti-satellite capability. Previous efforts focused on highlighting Russian plans and operations during the Ukraine conflict.

Kirby agreed that private engagement on the Russian anti-satellite threat could have been a more effective approach, aligning with the administration’s strategic focus, particularly concerning Russia.

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