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Moscow, Russia (VOA) Jun 10, 2014
Russia is capable of further developing its national space program despite recently imposed Western sanctions over Moscow's stance on the situation in neighboring Ukraine, the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said on Monday.
"Sanctions would leave an impact but not a critical one for us," Oleg Ostapenko said adding that Russia currently boasts a significant potential for the independent development in the sphere of the space exploration.
"We are capable of creating everything needed for the further development, we have worked out such program and are actively working on it," Ostapenko said, TASS reports. "We are not afraid of the sanctions."
Two months ago NASA announced its decision on pulling out from joint projects with Moscow. The American space agency announced, however, that it intended to continue cooperation with Russia on the maintenance of the International Space Station (ISS).
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 European Space Agency (ESA), however, repeatedly stated that it had no plans of severing cooperation with Russia in the sphere of space exploration.
NASA's decision to suspend the majority of space cooperation projects with Russia was accepted not only with bewilderment among Russian space experts, but also drew criticism inside the US space agency as well.
A number of Russian space experts remarked that the suspension of cooperation would be to the detriment of NASA itself.
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