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The signing of the pact strikes a positive note in a rather tense diplomatic atmosphere between Washington and Moscow.
Moscow agreed to the continuity of joint collaboration with the U.S. in space, paving the way for Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts to fly to the skies together in the name of peaceful exploration.
On Saturday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved proposals that will extend the agreement until the end of 2030. According to a message from officials, it will underwrite “the exploration and the use of outer space for peaceful purposes” for the best part of the coming decade.
“This document is one of the main legal instruments that form the conditions for Russian-American cooperation in space exploration,” the Russian government’s press service indicated. “The extension of the agreement is in the interests of both parties and will contribute to the effective implementation of joint space projects.”
However, General James Dickinson, the head of U.S. Space Command, struck a distinctly less favorable line about space's peaceful use. The military chief warned that "our competitors, most notably China and Russia, have militarized this domain."
Former U.S. President George W. Bush and Russia's first post-Soviet leader, Boris Yeltsin, signed the pact, which has been extended four times since then.
The signing of the pact strikes a positive note in a rather tense diplomatic atmosphere between Washington and Moscow. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the state of relations between the two countries had "hit bottom" and that there are currently no fixed plans to send Russia's ambassador back to the U.S.
Anatoly Antonov was recalled last month due to a growing diplomatic spat after a TV presenter asked U.S. President Joe Biden whether he thinks his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, is a killer. Biden answered in the affirmative.
The Russian parliament speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, viewed the remark as offensive to the nation and deemed it a sign of powerlessness. In contrast, President Putin wished Biden good health in return.