The Russian government will continue cooperating with the United States on space exploration and will further commit to support the progamme of manned cosmonautics development, Russian President Putin said on Friday.
In his videocall with the ISS astronauts, the president said that space exploration remains a symbol of human development which creates new opportunities.
Putin also addressed the current COVID-19 pandemic, saying that Russia will continue to cooperate with the United States to combat the spread of the new coronavirus.
“Russia has vast experience in international cooperation in space. We are glad that our specialists successfully work on the ISS programme with colleagues from the US, one of the leading space powers. This is a clear example of the collective partnership of our countries to the benefit of all mankind. Similarly, we are trying to cooperate on urgent matters, such as the fight against the pandemic and the situation on world markets", Putin said.
He also congratulated the crew on the upcoming Cosmonautics Day, celebrated in Russia and the former Soviet republics on 12 April.
Putin's videocall comes as Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner and US astronaut Chris Cassady arrived at the International Space Station after flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft on Thursday.
Russia's Position in Global Space Launch Services Market
In a separate meeting on the country's space sphere development, the president added that Russia should ramp up its position in the global space launch services market also calling for prioritising manned spaceflights development where the nation should retain its leadership.
"Our launch vehicles should remain competitive and be in demand, this is extremely important," Putin said.
The president stressed that infrastructure for heavy and super-heavy rockets should be ready at the Vostochny spaceport in Russia's Far East as scheduled, noting that tests flights should start in 2023 and 2028 respectively.
"The development of the manned spaceflights is one of the indisputable priorities. This is traditionally a strong point of the Russian space sphere, and we should retain leadership," Putin added.
Putin also pointed to the need to restore full operation of the national space industry, while respecting all requirements related to COVID-19.