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Russian space chief says US shutdown delayed NASA visit

AFP  |  Moscow 

Russia's on Wednesday said his trip to the US was postponed by due to the agency falling "victim" to the ongoing shutdown, rather than a diplomatic snub.

Head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin, a known for his anti-Western rhetoric, was set to visit the US in February.

His agency reacted furiously last week after said it was postponing the visit indefinitely.

He has now apparently been appeased by an explanation from NASA, whose chief visited in October and praised bilateral cooperation.

"We understand that this situation is a fragment of the battle between (US) and (Donald) Trump," Rogozin told state channel Rossiya 24.

"is a victim of this battle," he said, adding that understands the US space agency to be "in favour of developing cooperation with Russia", particularly on a potential Moon base.

"We are also interested in working with the Americans, although we would like to see in them a predictable partner," he said, saying the current situation "leaves a bad aftertaste".

NASA is one of the agencies affected by the partial shutdown forced by Trump's refusal to sign off on a Congress-approved spending bill that does not include his $5.6 billion request to build a giant wall on the US-Mexican border.

Most NASA workers are among the 800,000 government employees left without pay in the process, as 96 per cent of the agency's staff are considered non-essential.

Government-employed scientists, including from NASA, cannot even attend major conferences such as this week's American Astronomical Society's meeting, an AAS told AFP.

The delayed visit risked becoming another diplomatic row with after Roscosmos demanded an explanation at the weekend.

Some US lawmakers spoke out against inviting the Russian space chief, who is formally on a US blacklist.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 20:15 IST