Putin dismisses Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin | News | DW

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin on Friday by presidential decree.

The decree ordered the dismissal of Rogozin “from the post of general director of the state space company Roscosmos”.

The reasons for the move were not immediately clear and there was no immediate word on a new job for Rogozin, who is a longtime Putin ally. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the 58-year-old career politician would get a new job “in due course”.

Some Russian media have speculated that Rogozin may be tasked with overseeing Russian-held territories in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Rogozin, who had held the post since 2018, repeatedly raised eyebrows with his statements.

In May, he wrote on social media that it would take only half an hour for Russia to “destroy” NATO countries in a nuclear war.

Putin reshuffles other senior officials

Putin replaced Rogozin with Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borissov.

As Deputy Prime Minister, Borisov oversaw Russia’s space and defense industry.

Borisov has previously acknowledged some shortcomings in Russian weapons programs highlighted by the war in Ukraine.

He said military industries should have been more active in the development and production of drones.

“I think we were behind in deploying the drones,” he said in an interview on state television.

Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov was appointed to replace Borisov.

Roscosmos signs agreement with NASA

Meanwhile, Roscosmos said it has signed an agreement with NASA to allow Russian cosmonauts to fly on commercial crew vehicles and American astronauts on the Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA said astronaut Frank Rubio will fly with two Russian cosmonauts on a Soyuz rocket scheduled for launch Sept. 21 from Kazakhstan.

The deal comes despite NASA’s recent condemnation of the actions of three Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station.

Roscosmos released photos of cosmonauts holding flags of the Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, two Russian-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

“NASA strongly condemns Russia’s use of the ISS for political purposes in support of its war against Ukraine,” NASA said in a statement.

“(This) is fundamentally inconsistent with the station’s primary function among the 15 international participating nations to advance science and develop technology for peaceful purposes.”

The ISS, a collaboration between the United States, Canada, Japan, the European Space Agency and Russia, is divided into two sections: the American orbital segment and the Russian orbital segment.

The European Space Agency recently ended its cooperation with Russia on a mission to send a rover to Mars.

Rogozin responded angrily by banning ISS cosmonauts from using a European-made robotic arm.

lo/dj (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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