The United States will respond in an "appropriate" way to any Russian attack against US commercial satellites, the White House said Thursday after a Russian official suggested they could become legitimate targets in space.
"Any attack on US infrastructure will be met with an appropriate response in an appropriate way," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. The United States will "hold Russia accountable for any such attack, should it occur."
Kirby was responding to comments by a Russian foreign ministry official, Konstantin Vorontsov, at the United Nations on Wednesday that use of commercial satellites "in outer space for military purposes" by Western countries is an "extremely dangerous trend."
"These states do not realize that such actions in fact constitute indirect participation in military conflicts," Vorontsov said. "Quasi-civilian infrastructure may become a legitimate target for retaliation."
The Russian official did not specify what commercial satellites he meant but Starlink satellites deployed by Elon Musk's SpaceX company are playing a major role in communications for the Ukrainian military fighting Russia's invasion.
Kirby said "the only thing that's provocative right now and dangerous is Russia's war in Ukraine and the manner which they're prosecuting that war."