US Department of State claims it doesn't call NASA to stop cooperation with Russia
4 April 2014, 08:41 -- The US Department of State didn't call NASA to stop cooperation with Russia, Marie Harf, representative of the Department of State, says. "I know that there were mistaken statements yesterday that the Department of State called NASA to stop cooperation with Russia. Though I like to make orders to NASA, our department didn't make such order," Harf said.
This Wednesday NASA representative said that it had suspended cooperation with Russia, except cooperation on the ISS, because of the situation on Ukraine.
This step was made according to an instruction given to NASA and other national departments by the Department of State, Verge reports.
Moreover, the Department of State said that it would stop cooperation with Russia in some branches, including bilateral cooperation of presidential commissions.
The US together with the EU have implied visa and bank sanctions against several Russian officials and businessmen; this is the reaction of the West on the Crimea's integration with Russia. This Thursday, NATO member-countries suspended cooperation with Russia.
There is no way in implying sanctions against Russia as they show unwillingness of the West to recognize the reality, Russian Foreign Ministry says.
NASA to hurt itself by cutting ties with Russia – agency official
NASA posted on its Twitter and Facebook accounts a statement announcing the suspension of cooperation with Russia in a move to side with Washington administration's sanctions against Russia, Itar-Tass news agency reports.
A unilateral decision of the US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) to halt cooperation with Russia would be to the detriment only for the American space agency, Alexander Koptev, a NASA representative with the Russian Mission Control Centre, said on Thursday.
Earlier in the day the US space agency posted on its Twitter and Facebook accounts a statement announcing the suspension of cooperation with Russia in an apparent move of siding with Washington administration's sanctions in regard to Moscow over the situation in Ukraine.
Koptev said that Russia, however, hasn't receive any official documents from NASA regarding this issue.
"The statement is posted on NASA's Facebook and Twitter and bears the logo of the space agency, but it is not undersigned by any official representative of the American space agency, for instance by NASA's chief administrator. That is why it is still early to say that it is an official decision," Koptev said.
NASA's statement on Facebook reads in particular: "Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation."
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, signed agreements with Russia to become its constituent members on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which most Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Crimea's merger with Russia drew an angry response from the West. The European Union jointly with the United States declared a set of sanctions against Russia.
The American space agency announced however that it intended to continue cooperation with Russia on the maintenance of the International Space Station (ISS).
"NASA and Roscosmos will, however, continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station," the US agency said.
Commenting on NASA's posted text on social networks, Koptev said "it is unclear" what other agency's engagements with Russia were meant in the text.
"It is difficult to say now what the given announcement cost to Russia since it contains general and vague phrases," Koptev said adding that besides the ISS cooperation NASA also actively cooperates with the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI).
The Russian institute had developed a spectrometer for the US Curiosity lunar surface vehicle, which NASA launched to Mars.
"It is still unclear how this is going to reflect on IKI," Koptev said.
He added that the majority of space cooperation programs between Russia and the United States are in the American interests.
"They [NASA] would only harm themselves by making such decision," the officials said.
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