The US doesn’t want “other issues” to interfere with the orbital partnership The International Space Station (ISS) is photographed with the full moon in the background from Konya, Turkiye on January 24, 2024. © Yunus Turkyilmaz/Anadolu via Getty Images

The US is hoping to continue its longstanding peaceful cooperation with Russia in space, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Thursday, responding to Washington’s claims about Moscow’s nuclear weapons in orbit.

Nelson spoke with CNN ahead of the expected landing of the US lunar probe on the south pole of the Moon. Asked at one point about the persistent rumors from anonymous spy sources, he pointed to the long US history of peaceful space exploration with Russia.

“Let me say that we have an international space station up there, we have 15 international partners, and Russia is one of the partners,” Nelson told the cable network. “The cooperation with Russia goes back to 1975, the Apollo-Soyuz mission, and we’ve peacefully cooperated with Russia ever since. We built the space station together. We operate it together. But we want that to continue, we don’t want these other issues – that are anything but peaceful – to get in the way.”

For the past week, US intelligence has fueled media speculation that Russia has already deployed anti-satellite weapons, maybe even of the nuclear kind, into orbit – or might be planning to do so in the near future.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin and the Russian Defense Ministry have categorically denied such accusations, pointing to the treaties that ban the weaponization of space.

Russia comments on ‘nukes in space’ allegation Russia comments on ‘nukes in space’ allegation

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Russia comments on ‘nukes in space’ allegation

Nelson, the former US senator who actually flew on the Space Shuttle in 1986, also noted that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty banned the deployment of nuclear weapons in space.

“Anything that threatens the existence of peaceful uses of space is inimical to what we’re trying to do,” he told CNN.

The Kremlin has suggested that the US establishment manufactured a scare about “Russian space weapons” to push Congress into approving a $95 billion foreign aid bill, which includes over $60 billion for Ukraine’s war against Russia. The White House has rejected that interpretation as “bollocks” and insisted that Washington’s concerns are genuine.

The Russian ambassador to the US described cooperation in space as one of the few remaining “crumbs” of relations between the two countries, back in August 2022. Russia has since suspended its participation in the strategic arms control treaty, pointing to the US sanctions and intent to “strategically defeat” Moscow in Ukraine. (RT)