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Russia voices concern about US spy satellite situation
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The Russian Defense Ministry expressed concern on Saturday about Washington's decision to destroy its damaged intelligence-gathering satellite with air defense systems.


Washington's decision to liquidate the spacecraft and the hastiness with which the Pentagon is trying to destroy its satellite raise a number of questions, said the Defense Ministry's Department of Information and Public Relations.


"In particular, there are not enough arguments to substantiate the decision for intercepting the falling satellite with air defense systems," Itar-Tass news agency quoted the department as saying.


In addition, the United States has not provided "a comparative assessment of the consequences of intercepting the satellite in orbit and its uncontrolled descent," said the ministry.


The ministry said the operation to destroy a US spy satellite could prove to be the testing of an anti-satellite weapon, the Itar-Tass reported.


"Essentially, speculations about the danger of the satellite hide preparations for the classical testing of an anti-satellite weapon," it said.


"Such testing essentially means the creation of a new type of strategic weans," it added.


The United States plans to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite carrying toxic fuel, known by its military designation as USA 193.


The satellite, launched in Dec. 2006, lost power and its central computer failed almost immediately afterward, leaving it uncontrollable.


Left alone, the satellite would be expected to hit earth during the first week of March.


Military and administration officials said the satellite is carrying fuel called hydrazine that could injure or even kill people who are near it when it hits the ground.


(Xinhua News Ageny February 17, 2008)

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