Mexico enters agreement with Russia on space exploration, raising Glonass concerns

President Vladimir Putin ratified the intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Mexico on cooperation in ‘space research’ for peaceful purposes, according to Russian authorities.

“The agreement was prepared and signed in view of the stable trend of expanding cooperation between Russia and Mexico in the space sphere through joint projects,” the document states.

The agreement provides, in particular, for the Russian installation of Glonass and an optical-electronic system for the prevention of dangerous space situations in Mexico.

The agency pointed out that this agreement was signed by the Russian president on September 28 and explained that this creates the legal basis for the development of space cooperation between the two countries and for the practical use of space systems and technologies for peaceful purposes.

Despite reports, Mexico insists that the objective of this agreement is “to establish and develop equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation between the states of the parties, in the exploration and use of outer space and the practical application of space equipment and technologies. space for peaceful purposes”, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that Glonass isn’t being discussed under the new agreement at this time.

The Russian embassy in Mexico, however, confirmed that an intergovernmental agreement has already been ratified and includes the possible installation of Glonass installations to be built in Mexico as part of the overall agreement, despite the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that it would use said system and that the agreement would be “for peaceful purposes.”

Glonass is a Russian equivalent of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and was created in 1982. Like GPS, the Russian system was born out of military interest in the context of the Cold War and is powered by satellites, and can determine the position and speed of signal receivers. Russia has four ground stations in Brazil, three in Antarctica, one in South Africa, and one in Nicaragua. The first station outside Russia was installed in Brasilia in 2013 under the chair of Dilma Rousseff.

On April 6, 2017, the Russian district base Glonass was inaugurated at an event attended by about 20 guests from Nicaragua, and was chaired by Daniel Ortega and Laureano Ortega Murillo, son of Rosario Murillo, and Igor Komarov, general manager of the Russian Space Commissioner and Promoter Roscosmos project.

A building with a huge satellite dish was built on the coast of Nejapa Lagoon, a majestic crater formation in Managua, in front of the premises of the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. All installation work was carried out by Russian employees and access is limited.

Is the Russian Glonass satellite used for spying?

A joint investigation by New Lines, Delfi.ee in Estonia, and Respekt magazine in the Czech Republic reveal that GLONASS contains two new mechanisms for conducting espionage, including on nuclear weapons systems.

According to evidence gathered by a NATO member state’s intelligence agency, the new systems will house a nuclear explosion detection mechanism to feed warning data to the Russian nuclear command-and-control system, which in turn will send the information to the Cheget, the nuclear briefcase always carried close to President Vladimir Putin.

“The most worrying new payload is a signals intelligence system that will give target location data on NATO surface vessels to the Russian naval forces to support engagement with long-range anti-ship missiles such as the 3M-54 (Kalibr),” said a source from the European agency, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

The source added that this information is backed by documents the agency possesses and assesses to be “one hundred percent” reliable.

The signals intelligence system, according to the agency, has been developed by AO Information Satellite Systems Reshetnev (ISS), a subsidiary of Roscosmos, the Russian government-run space and aeronautics company, under the code name “OKR Ruveta.” ISS is based in the closed town of Zheleznogorsk in the Krasnoyarsk region in southern Russia. Its existence was a military secret until 1992; the town was missing from maps.

This story was updated after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied accusations that Glonass being used in Mexico was part of the deal signed between Russia and Mexico.

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