Russia has cautioned the U.S. against deployment of missile defense systems in outer space, saying it could lead to a new arms race.

In January this year, U.S. officials had said that space is a very important point of emphasis for the president, vice-president and the missile defense review. They said it was something that they wanted to invest in and the key to the next step of missile defense.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed concerns over American’s plans to deploy weapons in space. Lavrov said this will lead to another qualitative stage of an arms race. “As you know, Russia and China have already presented a draft proposal on preventing deployment of weapons in space at the disarmamanent conference in Geneva. We appreciate it that BRICS countries support annual resolutions on this pressing issue at UN General Assembly sessions,” he said.

Lavrov also said international security is threatened by “increasing military budgets” of several countries and deterioration of the decades-long architecture of strategic stability. The Russian Foreign Minister cited the U.S. for the break down of the military defense treaty and New Strategic Nuclear Reduction Treaty (START).

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had earlier said China and Russia have “weaponized space." “We are not going to sit back and watch. We are going to act,” Shanahan said.

The Foreign Policy reported that Pentagon is caught in the middle as operations in space become increasingly critical to the United States’ ability to wage war. “In the face of a growing threat from Russian and Chinese anti-satellite weapons, U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 announced his intent to establish a new Space Force as a separate branch of the armed services,” it said.

Experts said the U.S. Defense Department is racing toward a congressionally mandated deadline of December 2022 to fly the “first all-American rocket," powered by domestically produced engines, for U.S. national security space launches. Stephen Young, a senior Washington representative for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Guardian that America is not trying to use missile defense to address Russia and China. “They are going to spend a lot more money on things that don’t work very well, and Russia will be upset because of the expansion of the system,” Young explained.