Thursday, 18 August, 2022

Russian space chief Rogozin relieved

MOSCOW: Russian Presi-dent Vladimir Putin on Friday relieved the head of the country's space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, of his duties, a Kremlin decree said.

It was not immediately clear if 58-year-old Rogozin, a firebrand nationalist politician and one of the most ardent supporters of Moscow's offensive in Ukraine, will be offered a new job, reports AFP.

After Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, Rogozin has regularly published gung-ho statements on social media, saying in May that it would take Russia only half an hour to destroy NATO countries in a nuclear war.

A decree released by the Kremlin ordered Rogozin's dismissal from the post of general director of the Roscosmos state space corporation.

He was replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov. Putin appointed Rogozin to manage the country's struggling space agency in 2018.

At the time some experts described him as an outsider who lacked the necessary education and expertise to head Roscosmos.

Rogozin also oversaw the space industry as deputy prime minister from 2011 until 2018.

Rogozin -- who was placed under US sanctions in 2014 when Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine -- also served as Russia's NATO envoy.

Rogozin has repeatedly raised eyebrows with his statements and behaviour.

After Washington introduced sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea, Rogozin said that US astronauts should use trampolines instead of Russian rockets to get to the International Space Station.