Delegate Name: Kenna Charbauski
Questions concerning the regulations on using space for military measures have recently become a larger focus for the UN due to innovations in technology and the increasing militarization of space. Conflicts, including the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, bring to light the potential abuses of current space law and the need for greater regulation. Passed in 1967, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies (OST), provides basic law for the use of outer space that will remain necessary for all nations to follow as new developments occur. Ukraine recognizes the advantages that the exploration of outer space offers and the benefits of satellites used for military protection, but emphasizes the importance of the OST and keeping space peaceful. Ukraine firmly believes that no weapon should be placed in orbit and reaffirms the importance of preventing a global arms race in space.
As a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), Ukraine is a participating nation in the current space discussion. At the 77th UN session in DISEC, Ukraine co-sponsored the resolution (document A/77/C.1/L.62). The draft resolution details Ukraine and other nations’ concerns about the potential for an arms race in space. Ukraine values the peaceful, sustainable use of outer space. COPUOS has also worked to enforce the Guidelines for the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities and the Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines. The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine has placed particular emphasis on the increasing dangers of space debris and the use of satellites for military purposes. The Russian Federation’s anti-satellite missile tests alone have created over 1,500 pieces of trackable space debris. Ukraine is concerned about the dangers of these tests as debris in space can create the Kessler Syndrome and potentially harm people on earth. Another development has been the use of commercial satellites for military purposes. After Ukraine gained sovereignty, Ukraine’s military space program was discontinued. The recent invasion has led Ukraine to partner with private organizations and use those satellites for military observations. The use of commercial satellites raises important questions concerning data privacy.
The Russian Federation’s abuse of current space norms requires immediate attention, as it threatens humanity through increasingly irresponsible use of weapons and refusal to comply with current enforcement mechanisms. The Russian Federation’s space force has moved from peaceful to increasingly aggressive and has fired nearly 3,000 missiles on innocent civilians. Ukraine reminds the UN of the OST and the need for a peaceful space.
Ukraine acknowledges the need for innovations in space technology but prioritizes keeping peace in space. As the UN works to create improved legislation on the use of space, Ukraine recommends the use of legally binding instruments for the prevention of the arms race. Ukraine also believes in creating a system that will create transparency for all nations, including taking necessary confidence-building measures between nations. Ukraine emphasizes the importance of protecting the outer space environment as well as Earth and its people.