France denounces Russian espionage attempt

Russian satellite caught eavesdropping Franco-Italian satellite, says French defense minister

France denounces Russian espionage attempt

By Hajer M’tiri  

PARIS 

A Russian satellite attempted to spy on a Franco-Italian satellite dedicated to secure military communications last year, French Minister of Armies Florence Parly said Friday.

“As Athena-Fidus continued to rotate quietly over the Earth, a satellite approached it, up close, a little too close,” said the minister in a speech at a conference in the National Center for Space Studies in Toulouse. 

“So much so that we could have thought it was trying to capture our communications,” she added.  

But “trying to listen to your neighbors is not only unfriendly, it’s called an act of espionage”.  

“This big-eared satellite is called Louch-Olymp, it’s a well-known Russian satellite but a bit … indiscreet,” she continued.  

“We had seen it happen, and we had taken the appropriate measures, we watched it carefully, and we observed that it continued to actively maneuver the following months around other targets, but who knows if tomorrow it will come back to one of our satellites? ” 

“No, espionage and offensive acts, does not happen only to others. We are in danger, our communications, our military maneuvers … are in danger if we do not react, “Parly warned. 

French President Emmanuel Macron announced his intention to establish for France “a defense space strategy” next year.

A working group at the Ministry of the Armed Forces is expected to make proposals on the subject by November.

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