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Russia backs extending space cooperation with US until 2030

April 4, 2021

The Russian cabinet cleared a proposal to extend a space cooperation agreement with the US for another decade. This comes at a time when Moscow's ties with Washington are at a post-Cold War low.

Internationale Raumstation - ISS
The 20-year-old International Space Station has been orbiting the Earth at about 400 kilometers above the surface.Image: Paolo Nespoli/AP Photo/picture alliance

Russia has extended an agreement on space cooperation with the United States until the end of December 2030, the Russian government said on Saturday.

"The extension of the agreement is in the interests of both parties and will contribute to the effective implementation of joint space projects," the Russian cabinet said in a statement.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved the proposal to extend the agreement on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, it said.

What is the agreement about?

The agreement was first signed in 1992 and has since been extended four times.

The pact included joint work on the International Space Station, which Russia said at the beginning of March will continue until 2028.

It also included cooperation between Roscosmos and NASA — the two countries' space agencies — as well as Russian rockets ferrying astronauts and supplies to the ISS, after NASA shelved its space shuttle fleet.

Russia recently lost its monopoly over trips to the space station following the SpaceX mission launch.

Cooperation amid rising tensions

The extension of the agreement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow. 

The US has accused Russia of hacking and election interference and has called for Russian authorities to free jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

US President Joe Biden has warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he would face consequences for meddling in American elections.

Biden's statement came after Washington imposed tightening sanctions on Russia over the arrest of Navalny. The sanctions partially excluded certain items related to aviation and space.

adi/aw (dpa, Reuters)