ENGELS, April 12. /TASS/. Russia must uphold its status of a leading nuclear and space power, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
"In the new, 21st century, Russia must uphold its status of a leading nuclear and space power because the space sector is directly linked with defense," he said at a government meeting on the development of the space sector.
Putin congratulated workers and veterans of Russia’s space sector on Cosmonautics Day marked on April 12 and on the 60th anniversary of the first-ever manned spaceflight. The president described Yuri Gagarin’s spaceflight as "a milestone event that changed the world" and opened a new era of exploration of outer space.
"We will always be proud that our country paved the way to the universe and that our compatriot was a pioneer on this great path," he stressed.
"It is our duty to cherish the memory of the generation of space explorers - to honor the courage and bravery of cosmonauts who ventured to explore the unknown, despite risks, those who developed unique space systems and vehicles, who trained crews for work in the orbit and to remember all those who used their labor and talent to lay the basis for and build up the country’s space potential. Moreover, our duty is to keep on striving to be on a par with the high standards set for us by the space pioneers," the president noted.
According to Putin, more than 50,000 people younger than 35 are currently employed in Russia’s space sector. He called for taking efforts to attract more young people to the sector.