ASHGABAT, October 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin shared a warm relationship with cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and admired his courage, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in reply to a question from TASS.
“They knew each other very well. Putin held Leonov in high esteem. They had lengthy conversations many times. Putin always admired Leonov’s courage and believed he was a man among men, with a capital M,” Peskov said, adding that Putin was deeply aggrieved by Leonov’s death.
Very soon the head of state will send a message of condolences to Leonov’s relatives and dear ones. Peskov was unable to say if Putin would attend Leonov’s funeral.
Leonov died in Moscow at 85, his aide Natalya Filimonova told TASS on Friday.
Leonov made two space flights that lasted a total of seven days and 33 minutes. The first one was on March 18-19, 1965. Leonov was a co-pilot of the spacecraft Voskhod-2 (commander Pavel Belyayev). During that space mission Leonov performed the first-ever spacewalk. During his second space voyage on July 15-21, 1975 Leonov was the commander of the crew that participated in the first international docking of the Soviet Union’s Soyuz-19 spacecraft and the United States’ Apollo-18. The handshakes of Soviet and US crewmembers Alexei Leonov, Valery Kubasov, Vance Brand, Thomas Stafford and Donald Slayton in orbit went down in the history of space exploration.