Russia presented Kazakhstan with ultimatum over Baikonur 24 января 2013, 17:36
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Proton-M rocket carrier. ©RIA Novosti
Russian Interior Ministry has delivered an official note to Kazakhstan regarding the situation around the use of Baikonur cosmodrome. The document contains a list of measures that Moscow is ready to take if Kazakhstan does not reconsider its restrictions on rocket launch from Baikonur in 2013, Izvestiya newspaper writes. In response to restriction of the number of Proton carrier rocket launches (from 14 to 12) and other decrees of Kazakhstan government, Russian has threatened Kazakhstan with suspension of cooperation in all joint space projects. “In this situation Russia will be forced to reconsider its position in regards to expediency of continuing the bilateral cooperation in joint projects, including in Dnepr program and Baiterek joint project, considering the plans of switching it to Zenit carrier rocket, as well as other projects,” the document states. “Kazakhstan party dodges approving the launches that do not contradict the lease agreement and do not go above the agreed lessee’s rights. Russian views such decision as an attempt of Kazakhstan party to bypass Baikonur lease terms, in particular the obligation “to not hinder, directly or indirectly, the Lessee’s use of Baikonur complex for its main purpose,” the document writes. According to RosKosmos, the restriction of the launches of Proton-M in 2013 “will cause termination of international contracts and create obligations to return up to $500 million to the clients”. The authority stated that Kazakhstan party may be requested to reimburse such losses if Russian space companies incur any as a result of Kazakhstan government’s actions. This is not the first note from Russia concerning the cosmodrome. In the beginning of January Russian newspaper Kommersant wrote that the Kremlin officially requested Kazakhstan government to explain “unreasonably rough” statements of the head of KazKosmos Talgat Mussabayev about the future of Baikonur.