Putin bemoans continued corruption at space base

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is complaining to his cabinet that widescale corruption at Russia's new space launch facility is continuing.

The facility in the Far East, named Vostochny, is intended to reduce Russia's reliance on the Baikonur launchpads in Kazakhstan, from which all manned space missions and many other major rockets set off. But construction of Vostochny has been plagued by corruption.

"It's been said 100 times: Work transparently, large amounts of money are allocated. ... No, they're stealing hundreds of millions," Putin exclaimed with irritation at the Monday cabinet meeting.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov later told reporters that about 11 billion rubles ($169 million) has been embezzled during Vostochny's construction.

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