In this Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 file photo, Director-General of the Russian state corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin walks in Baikonur airport, in Kazakhstan.
Russia’s space agency on Saturday demanded a statement after NASA postponed indefinitely a planned visit by the Russian space chief.
According to AFP, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement that “it is expected that the official statements of NASA’s position,” and stressed that Dmitry Rogozin’s visit was planned ” in accordance with an invitation received earlier.”
Rogozin, a nationalist politician who was approved in 2014 by the EU, Canada and the former U.S. President Barack Obama for his role in promoting the destabilization in the Crimea when he was vice-premier, was scheduled to visit America, but NASA said Friday it was withdrawing his invitation after complaints from US lawmakers.
“We had heard of many senators to suggest that this is not a good idea,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told The Washington Post. “And I wanted to be accommodating to the interests of the senators, and so I rescinded the invitation.”
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When the sanctions were issued in response to the Russian invasion of Crimea, Rogozin reportedly said Russia must stop the fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. “After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest the U.S. delivers the astronauts to the ISS (International Space Station] with a trampoline,” he wrote on Twitter at the time, according to the Post.
Some U.S. senators, said NASA never invited the controversial Russian officer.
“America’s message to the Kremlin should be quite clear: actions have consequences,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N. H., said in a statement. “Administrator Bridenstine at the invitation of Dmitry Rogozin, one of the main architects of the Kremlin’s campaign of aggression in the direction of the neighbors, is our message and undermines the United States’ core national security objectives.”
Shaheen continued: “Rogozin has a proven track record of choosing conflict over cooperation, and this invitation has weakened the US’ global reputation through a demonstration of the ease with which the Russian officials can get around the transatlantic sanctions.”
The International Space Station, photographed by an astronaut aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 2010.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N. J., had also urged NASA to withdraw the invitation.
“Welcome Mr. Rogozin to the United States and give him a platform to speak is an insult to our sanctions regime and will further undermine the Trump management of the limited credibility on Russia policy,” Menendez wrote in a letter to the NASA administrator.
“I am a supporter of NASA and understand the importance of maintaining a dialogue with the Russian Federation on issues related to the area,” Menendez added. “But that dialogue should not take place with a specially designated national on AMERICAN soil, as it is completely undermining our sanctions regime.”
In his interview with the Post, Bridenstine said that he thought it was “good for the world to see that the countries which disagree on a lot of other things can work together on space activities.”
He also said that he did not consult the White House in inviting Rogozin or withdrawal of the invitation.