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Russia to stop operation of GPS stations if GLONASS talks unsuccessful — deputy PM

May 13, 2014, 20:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, May 13. /ITAR-TASS/. If talks with the United States on placement of Glonass stations in the United States prove unsuccessful, the operation of GPS stations in Russia will be stopped completely, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Tuesday.

Rogozin said the US side suspended work on the issue of placing Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) transmission stations on US territory. American Global Positioning System (GPS) signal transmission stations are placed in ten Russian regions.

“As we have had no progress in similar placement of the Glonass system on US territory in the recent months, this issue is to be resolved until May 31. From June 1, we are suspending the operation of these stations on the territory of the Russian Federation,” Rogozin said.

The deputy premier said he hopes a working group comprising Russian Space Agency Roscosmos representatives, scientists and diplomats will find a solution during talks until the end of the summer that “will make it possible to restore that cooperation on condition of parity and proportionality”.

Otherwise, Rogozin said, the cooperation will be terminated completely from September 1.

Ordinary users will not suffer

As a result of that action, civil users of GPS will not suffer, Rogozin pledged. “So it will not affect navigation services in any way,” he said.

Chinese multinational computer tech company Lenovo head for Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Eastern Europe Gleb Mishin also told Itar-Tass that the switching off of GPS stations in Russia will not affect the operation of smartphones and navigation devices.

“Ground stations are used to calibrate satellites, which makes it possible to reduce the measurement error. Suspension of the operation of such stations will not affect in any way civil devices with the navigation function as they don’t need a high accuracy when defining coordinates using GPS,” Mishin said.

“Besides, devices sold in Russia use not only GPS but also the Russian system Glonass,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Russian industry and trade minister, Denis Manturov, said he does not understand why the operation of GPS ground stations in Russia should be stopped.

“This can be done, but technically, why should this be done? The Global Positioning System is beneficial for users, including Russian ones,” Manturov said.

He said GPS makes it possible to duplicate the operation of Russian Glonass satellites in case of their occasional malfunction.

Why Russia-West relations deteriorated

Relations between Russia and the West have grown sour following Crimea’s incorporation by Russia in March, which the West and the de facto Kiev authorities refuse to recognize legal despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008.

Cooperation between Russia and the United States, as well as between Russia and the European Union in some spheres has been suspended. Some Russian and Crimean officials and companies have even been subjected to sanctions by Western nations, including visa and asset freezes.

Russia has dismissed the threats of further sanctions, including economic ones, against it over its position on events in Ukraine, saying the language of punitive measures is counterproductive and will have a boomerang effect on Western nations.

Ukraine crisis

The situation in Ukraine is far from stable after the country saw a coup in February following months of anti-government protests. New people were propelled to power amid riots as President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns. Russia does not recognize the de facto Ukrainian authorities as legitimate ones.

The Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, held a referendum March 16 in which it overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and reunify with Russia. The accession deal with Moscow was signed March 18.

After Crimea’s accession to Russia, massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories, with demonstrators seizing some government buildings and demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.

The Kiev authorities have been conducting what they call an antiterrorism operation in eastern Ukraine. Russia has condemned the operation, apparently aimed to clamp down on Ukrainian nationals supporting federalization.

At least 48 people died and more than 200 were injured on May 2 in clashes and a fire in Odessa after radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where pro-federalization activists hid, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian.

In Mariupol in the Donetsk Region, Ukrainian law enforcers opened fire from armored vehicles on participants of a rally held in honor of Victory Day on May 9 who gathered near the building of the local Interior Ministry department and who were trying to prevent its storm. Nine people died and 42 were injured.

Meanwhile, a number of politicians have said the Kiev authorities are deliberately understating the Odessa death toll, which, the politicians say, could reach 116. Regarding Mariupol, deputy Oleg Tsaryov said at least 40 people were killed in the city.

The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine.

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