22:00 GMT17 June 2021
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    Earlier, Russian media reported on the alleged construction of a secretive space-based project aimed at jamming foreign satellites providing internet access.

    Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor's chief Alexander Zharov has denied rumours that Russia was building a secret space station, saying his agency has been transparent about its planned infrastructure, including a satellite monitoring station in Crimea, all along.

    Last week, Russian IT news website habr.com reported that Roskomnadzor was quietly at work building a network to help it jam SpaceX and OneWeb satellites beaming internet access down to Earth and causing headaches for Russian internet providers and security services which block sites containing illegal content. The report included photos of the construction of a satellite radio monitoring station in Crimea in December 2017.

    Responding to the claims, Zharov said that the monitoring station was real, but had no sinister purpose. "The mentioned radio monitoring station does indeed exist, and began operations all the way back in early 2018," he noted. 

    "At the moment, it's tasked with controlling the radio-electronic equipment aboard spacecraft to ensure that there is no interference, determining the coordinates of civilian satellites and monitoring the technical parameters of the radio-electronic equipment of satellite systems for satellite broadcasting," Zharov explained.

    In the accompanying post on Russian social networking site VKontakte, Roskomnadzor quipped that habr.com's description of the station made it sound like it planned "to shoot down satellites belonging to Elon Musk and co. in Earth orbit with laser beams, and was not telling anyone about this."

    In a bit of added trolling, Roskomnadzor's post was accompanied by a photo of Zharov sitting at a table in front of plans of the Death Star from Star Wars.

    Roskomnadzor is the Russian federal regulatory agency responsible for monitoring Russian media and telecommunications, as well as censoring prohibited content online and in broadcast media.


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