OneWeb: UK rejects Russian demand to sell share in satellite firm

Mr Rogozin’s comments followed the Soyuz rocket’s early morning transfer to the launch pad

The UK has rejected Russian demands for it to sell its share in internet firm OneWeb to allow a satellite launch.

A Soyuz rocket carrying 36 OneWeb satellites is on the launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russia’s space agency Roscomos demanded guarantees the spacecraft would not be used for military purposes.

It then said it would not launch the rocket unless the UK sold its share in OneWeb – but business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng rejected this.

“There’s no negotiation on OneWeb: the UK government is not selling its share,” tweeted Mr Kwarteng.

The UK government, which has come under pressure to pull the launch because of the war in Ukraine in any case, said it was continuing to discuss the situation with its partners on the OneWeb board.

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