The Russian space agency Roscosmos wouldn’t confirm or deny that the strike took place, saying only that the “unconditional safety of the crew has been and remains our main priority” in a statement Tuesday.

 Russian officials on Tuesday rejected accusations that they endangered astronauts aboard the International Space Station by conducting a weapons test that created more than 1,500 pieces of space junk, AP reports.

U.S. officials on Monday accused Russia of destroying an old satellite with a missile in what they called a reckless and irresponsible strike. They said the debris could damage the space station, an assessment backed by NATO’s chief.

Astronauts now face four times greater risk than normal from space junk, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told The Associated Press. The defunct Russian satellite Cosmos 1408 was orbiting about 40 miles (65 kilometers) higher than the space station.

The test clearly demonstrates that Russia, “despite its claims of opposing the weaponization of outer space, is willing to … imperil the exploration and use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behavior,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos wouldn’t confirm or deny that the strike took place, saying only that the “unconditional safety of the crew has been and remains our main priority” in a statement Tuesday.

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