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Sky News

Russia plans to resume its space program, with its sights set on returning to the Moon - despite its continual failure to conquer Ukraine and western sanctions being slapped on the country.

During a visit to Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East, Russian president Vladimir Putin made the announcement in a meeting alongside Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, where he detailed how Russia will cooperate with Belarus on their space endeavours.

Russia will work with Belarus to ensure they have the infrastructure in place to be able to access space independently, as Putin also added that he's asked Roskosmos, the Russian space agency to train a Belarusian for flight on a Russian spacecraft.

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Putin has insisted that sanctions implemented by the west will not halter their ambitions and noted the success of the Soviet space programme.

The sanctions were imposed as a result of Russia's continued invasion into Ukraine which began back in February and still wages on.

"The sanctions were total, the isolation was complete but the Soviet Union was still first in space," Putin said, according to Reuters.

"We don't intend to be isolated," Putin added. "It is impossible to severely isolate anyone in the modern world - especially such a vast country as Russia."

Later this year, the country will launch its Luna-25 probe to the moon.

Both Putin and Lukashenko chose to announce their collaboration as they celebrated Cosmonaut's Day which commemorates Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin carrying out the first human spaceflight in 1961.

As Putin may be looking up at space, Russia's economy is suffering from the worst recession since the Cold War, contracting by 10 per cent and is also experiencing the biggest fall in gross domestic produced (GDP) since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, according to former finance minister Alexi Kurdin, Reuters reported.

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