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U.S., Russia Discuss Space Security Ahead Of Nuclear Talks This Week


U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security Christopher Ford attends a conference at the United Nations in Geneva in April 2018.

U.S. and Russian officials are holding talks on space security after the United States and Britain last week accused Moscow of having launched an anti-satellite weapon.

The one-day dialogue, being held in Vienna on July 27, will focus on space security and had been planned months in advance. Those talks will be followed by three days of nuclear arms-control talks in the Austrian capital.

U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford said July 24 that "Moscow and Beijing have already turned space into a war-fighting domain."

The United States is proposing rules for responsible behavior in space, which would be modeled on existing rules of war that are based on the principles of proportionality and humanity.

"Our hope is that this meeting will allow us to explore ways to increase security and stability in outer space as well as to advance the cause of developing norms of responsible behavior," Ford told a press conference.

The last bilateral meeting between Russia and the United States on space security took place in 2013.

Russia and China have been backing a rival effort to ban weapons in outer space in an international treaty.

The United States and Britain accused Russia of having tested an anti-satellite weapon in space on July 15.

Moscow denied the accusation, describing the event as an inspection of one satellite by another.

"Russia has always been and remains a country that is committed to the aim of fully demilitarizing outer space and nondeployment of any kinds of arms in outer space," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on July 24 in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

The United States and Britain, however, said a Russian satellite fired a projectile that Ford described as the space equivalent of "a bullet."

Russia has now carried out such a test for the second time, Ford said. The first test took place in 2017.

With reporting by dpa and TASS
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