Russia-Ukraine Crisis

MIT Ends Collaborative Program With Russia Over Invasion of Ukraine

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology partnered with Russia to launch the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, or Skoltech, in Moscow in 2011

NBC10 Boston

As the world condemns Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ending a collaborative program with Russia that launched a research university in Moscow more than a decade ago.

The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, or Skoltech, was founded in October of 2011 as part of a joint effort between MIT and Russia.

MIT President L. Rafael Reif announced in a statement Friday that the school's relationship with Skoltech is ending over "the unacceptable military actions against Ukraine by the Russian government."

"This step is a rejection of the actions of the Russian government in Ukraine," the statement on the MIT Skoltech Program's website read. "We take it with deep regret because of our great respect for the Russian people and our profound appreciation for the contributions of the many extraordinary Russian colleagues we have worked with."

Controversy surrounding the school's relationship with Russia is not new. Last fall, U.S. intelligence officials expressed concern that MIT had extended its partnership with Skoltech in 2019.

They also pointed to 2018 sanctions against Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, the Skolkovo Fondation's leader. MIT removed Vekselberg from its board of trustees after the sanctions were announced.

The criticism came as part of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center identified emerging technologies that must be protected from China and Russia if the U.S. is to retain its role as a global superpower.

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