- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 20, 2018

A top Russian government official sanctioned by the Obama administration over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea has had his U.S. travel ban lifted by the Trump White House, Russian state-run media reported Friday.

Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA under Mr. Trump, said that Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian state space agency Roscosmos, has been temporarily cleared to enter the U.S. in spite of sanctions imposed over four years earlier, government-run media reported.

Russia’s former deputy prime minister, Mr. Rogozin was among the first group of people sanctioned by the Obama administration within days of Crimea being seized from Ukraine in March 2014, effectively barring him from entering the U.S. and doing business with American banks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Mr. Rogozin earlier this year to lead Roscosmos, and the Trump administration recently agreed to temporarily lift the entry ban in order to let him visit the U.S. for meetings with NASA representatives and contractors, Mr. Bridenstine told TASS, the outlet reported.

“Whatever areas of disagreement the two countries have, we don’t want that to spill over into space,” Mr. Bridenstine said during an interview in Russia last week, according to the outlet. “We certainly do not want terrestrial disputes to get in the way of what we can do together in space.”

The White House did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Mr. Rogozin, 54, was on the initial list of seven Russians sanctioned by the Obama administration in the aftermath of Moscow annexing Crimea. He previously acted as Moscow’s ambassador to NATO from 2008 to 2011 prior to serving as deputy prime minister in charge of the Russian defense industry until earlier this year.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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