Image source, ReutersImage caption, Astronauts on the ISS are increasingly having to take precautionary measures when fragments from old satellites and rockets come close

Debris formed after a Russian anti-missile test "do not pose any threat to space activities", Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said.

He said the missile had struck an old Russian satellite dating back to the 1980s with clinical precision.

The US earlier condemned Russia for conducting a "dangerous and irresponsible" test on Monday.

It said space debris had forced the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to shelter in capsules.

The ISS currently has seven crew members on board – four Americans, two Russians and a German – and orbits at an altitude of about 420km (260 miles).

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On Tuesday, the Russian defence ministry confirmed that, a day earlier, a Russian missile had destroyed the Tselina-D satellite, which had been inactive.

The ministry said China, India and the US had already carried out similar tests.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.Media caption, Space debris is becoming a major problem

US state department spokesman Ned Price earlier said the Russian action demonstrated the country's "claims of opposing weaponisation of space are disingenuous and hypocritical", adding the US would work with its allies to respond to the "irresponsible act".

The anti-satellite test fit into the wider issue of space debris, which is being made worse by continued human activities in space.

There is now a wild jungle of debris overhead – everything from old rocket stages that continue to loop around the Earth decades after they were launched, to the flecks of paint that have lifted off once shiny space vehicles and floated off into the distance.

  • Russian test worsens space debris problem