This is not about Russian forces, but given the recent news about weapons and space, I think it is a question worth asking - Exactly how the planned destruction of the USA 193 satellite is not an ASAT test? And how it would be different from the Chinese ASAT test of January 2007?

One important difference is the altitude of the target satellite. The U.S. ASAT test might not create that many debris as the Chinese one did and the debris will decay fairly rapidly. But other than that I don't see a fundamental difference between the two. Besides, if the satellite explodes some debris could end up on relatively long-lived orbits.

In fact, we may never find out how many debris the U.S. test will create - it is quite likely that NORAD will keep orbital elements of the debris classified, just as it does with the USA 193 elements. Amateur observers probably won't be able to find them, since they are too small. The Russian space surveillance system will probably detect most of them, but Russia does not publish its data.

Overall, I think that shooting down that satellite is an extremely bad idea. I am sure the U.S. official line will be that it is all done for safety and other peaceful purposes, but for all practical and political purposes this will be an ASAT test.

(Here is the AW&ST story)