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SHAHEEN: Withdraw Invitation to Sanctioned Leader of Russian Space Agency Before Congress is Forced to Act

(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittee which funds the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, issued the following statement after reports that NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has extended an invitation to Dmitry Rogozin, the current head of the Russian space agency, to visit NASA headquarters in Houston, Texas. Dmitry Rogozin was the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and was one of the first Russian officials sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2014 for his leading role in initiating the Ukraine crisis:     

“America’s message to the Kremlin should be unequivocal: actions have consequences,” said Shaheen. “Administrator Bridenstine’s invitation to Dmitry Rogozin, one of the leading architects of the Kremlin’s campaign of aggression towards its neighbors, undercuts our message and undermines the United States’ core national security objectives. Rogozin has a proven record of choosing conflict over cooperation, and this invitation weakens the U.S.’s global standing by demonstrating the ease by which Russian officials can get around transatlantic sanctions. Fortunately, the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) provides Congress with a means to stop the administration from rolling back existing sanctions. Given Dmitry Rogozin’s involvement in Russia’s annexation of Crimea and continued bloodshed against the Ukrainian people, as well as Russia’s recent detention of an American citizen and continued interference in Western democracies, Administrator Bridenstine should withdraw this invitation immediately before Congress is forced to take action.” 

Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its interference in the 2016 elections, and was the first legislator to call for hearings into their meddling. Because of her leadership on Russian sanctions legislation and her efforts to hold Russia accountable for its actions, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin.