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They will continue maintaining the International Space Station together, though

According to The New York Times, NASA announced yesterday that it is halting many forms of contact with Russian government representatives due to Russia's "ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Russian and American relations have become a bit strained after Russia annexed Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula with past ties to Russia. In response, the U.S. has imposed sanctions.

Despite these issues, the two space agencies have managed to maintain a normal relationship. The retirement of the U.S. space shuttle program in 2011 means that the U.S. doesn't have a way to launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), so it depends on Russian Soyuz capsules to get there instead. Russia also benefits because it receives $70 million for every astronaut it launches. 

But it seems even the space agencies have problems now, as NASA has decided to sever many ties with the Russian government -- except when it comes to operating the ISS. 

[SOURCE: Mashable]

"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," said NASA in a statement. "NASA and Roscosmos will, however, continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station. NASA is laser focused on a plan to return human spaceflight launches to American soil, and end our reliance on Russia to get into space.  

"This has been a top priority of the Obama Administration’s for the past five years, and had our plan been fully funded, we would have returned American human spaceflight launches – and the jobs they support – back to the United States next year. With the reduced level of funding approved by Congress, we’re now looking at launching from U.S. soil in 2017. The choice here is between fully funding the plan to bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions of dollars to the Russians. It’s that simple. The Obama Administration chooses to invest in America – and we are hopeful that Congress will do the same."

NASA is reportedly suspending travel to Russia, teleconferences, visits by Russian government officials to NASA facilities and even the exchange of emails with Russian officials.

Source: The New York Times

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RE: Cold War II
By aliasfox on 4/3/2014 9:46:40 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. There's not much Obama (and by extension, Kerry) can do on this issue besides for mediate.

If they go in more aggressively, they may be accused of instigating World War III. Putin's already trying that by putting troops on Ukraine's border, so it's probably best right now not to be provoked.

If they go in weaker (no sanctions, not taking a stance), then Ukraine to Putin probably becomes Czechoslovakia to Hitler (cue Godwin?).

The fact of the matter is that NATO/Western Europe and the US are trying to reason with Putin. It's just hard to talk to a bully who's already taken your ball, is eyeing your bike, and you can't use your bat and expect a good outcome.

RE: Cold War II
By Reclaimer77 on 4/3/2014 10:03:16 AM , Rating: 1
If they go in weaker (no sanctions, not taking a stance), then Ukraine to Putin probably becomes Czechoslovakia to Hitler (cue Godwin?).

That seems like a ridiculous statement to me. Putin doesn't want to slaughter Ukraine citizens.

And at least half the citizens of Ukraine WANT to be part of Mother Russia again.

This is hardly a black and white issue. And I honestly question the wisdom of constantly embroiling ourselves in these very small and highly regional petty disputes.

RE: Cold War II
By DiscoWade on 4/3/2014 12:45:04 PM , Rating: 2
That is pretty broad statement: "at least half the citizens of Ukraine WANT to be part of Mother Russia again."

I was in Ukraine before the Orange Revolution. The sentiment I got was that the people that remembered the Soviet Union hated and resented Russia. And these were Russian speaking people, not Ukrainian speaking. Of course, I was in Kiev and not southern Ukraine. I think the same will still holds true, after all why was there a revolution when the former president wanted to have closer ties to Russia? I would be willing to bet that the people who remember the Soviet Union and the people who speak Ukrainian are anti-Russia, and that is the majority if only slightly.

What you have here is Vladamir Putin doing a far superior job of playing politics than Europe and the US.

RE: Cold War II
By aliasfox on 4/3/2014 1:24:52 PM , Rating: 2
I was merely referring to the German annexation of Czechoslovakia, where it was decided that it was better to appease Hitler than confront him. This led to Neville Chamberlain pronouncing "Peace in our time" less than a year before the outbreak of WWII.

Giving Hitler Czechoslovakia made him think that it was ok to try and take Poland; what's to say giving Putin Crimea wouldn't lead to him trying to take all of the former Soviet states?

RE: Cold War II
By maven81 on 4/3/2014 1:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
Because Putin doesn't want all the former soviet states that's why. His mission is to make Russia as strong and as independent as possible. This means not relying on the former republics. That's why in his mind taking a naval base away from Ukraine by force is better then leasing it. That's why he's building a new space center in the far east, so that he can tell Kazakhstan to go take a hike and stop paying them for space launches.
He may be interested in Belarus I suppose, maybe eastern Ukraine. He certainly couldn't care less about western Ukraine (watch how he hiked up the gas prices, he'd rather they freeze in winter I suppose).

RE: Cold War II
By aliasfox on 4/3/2014 1:55:14 PM , Rating: 2
I can buy that, but the flip side of the fuel price argument is that Putin wants to bring the rest of Ukraine to its knees. If fuel's too expensive in eight months, what's to say Ukraine won't give itself up to keep itself warm?

I really hope I'm wrong though.

RE: Cold War II
By sorry dog on 4/24/2014 9:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
I think he's smart enough not to play that card. Right now Russia may be in a short term position to price gouge, but that won't be the case in a few years. There enough LNG plant/transport projects already financing or construction phases to make a serious dent in Russia's gas business. If they are smart, they will start trying to make 20 year deals.

RE: Cold War II
By atechfan on 4/5/2014 6:10:48 AM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer is 100% right. Putin only wants the parts of Ukraine that were historically part of Russia, but were given to Ukraine to placate them by Stalin. Making his desire even more reasonable is the fact that the majority of the people in the Crimean region wanted to rejoin Russia anyway.

The West is being hypocritical by not baking self-determination for Crimeans when it backed Kosovo breaking from Serbia and Slovakia breaking from the Czechs.

RE: Cold War II
By Jeffk464 on 4/3/2014 2:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
you can't use your bat and expect a good outcome.

Nope Putin already has all of his military assets available if he wants to invade Ukraine. It would take months for us to get a force in place to counteract any move he makes. Remember a lot of war is just pure logistics.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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