United States and Russian officials have begun space security talks in Vienna on Monday. The dialogue will be followed by three days of nuclear arms control talks.

The talks come after the US and the United Kingdom last week accused Moscow of having launched an anti-satellite weapon on July 15, similar to a test the country conducted in 2017. Russia has rejected the accusations, and said that a small space vehicle inspected one of its satellites up close “using special equipment”.

US assistant secretary for international security Christopher Ford earlier said that “Moscow and Beijing have already turned space into a war-fighting domain”.  Russia and China seek an international treaty that would ban weapons in outer space, but Ford said the US would instead seek to define what types of actions in space are acceptable.

During a last month’s first round of talks, Washington and Moscow discussed their last remaining nuclear arms-control deal, the New Start, which imposes limits on the number of US and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers.

Russia has earlier offered to extend the treaty, which expires in February, but US president Donald Trump is holding out in hopes of negotiating a three-way agreement with Russia and China.

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