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Roscosmos Head Claims Anti-Russian Sentiment Affecting Cooperation With NASA

Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin

Roscosmos' director claims the Russian space agency has experienced some problems in cooperation with its U.S. counterpart NASA -- a development he blamed on anti-Russian sentiment.

"Problems with NASA, of course, have appeared, but not through the fault of NASA, but through the fault of those American circles that surround NASA, which dictate certain conditions to them," Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with Russian Channel One on October 1.

Rogozin said people he knows at NASA have told him they are under "enormous pressure" from what he called "rabid Russophobes."

NASA did not immediately respond to his claim.

Joint Russian-U.S. space activities -- in particular, the jointly operated International Space Station, which turns 20 this year -- have traditionally been kept out of politics and have weathered without serious disruption events souring Washington-Moscow relations such as Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, which prompted a series of Western economic sanctions.

Rogozin asserted in the interview that the loss of Roscosmos as a partner would be "deadly" for NASA. The U.S. agency continues to rely on Russian Soyuz rocket launches to ferry astronauts to and from the space station.

Currently, Roscosmos is investigating a small drill hole that was discovered in a remote area of the station that caused a loss of pressure on board last month, but no major damage or loss of life.

Rogozin said a leading theory continues to be that someone in the station or at a space facility on Earth drilled the hole on purpose.

On other issues, Rogozin said Roscosmos is exploring building a joint research station on the Moon with China.

Based on reporting by Izvestia and TASS