In this Sept. 22, 2015 file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee assailed Pentagon officials Wednesday for relying on Russian rocket engines to launch American military satellites into space, arguing that the practice enriches friends of President Vladimir Putin and puts U.S. national security in jeopardy.McCain said the Pentagon has actively sought to undermine the committee's direction to limit that risk and end the use of the Russian RD-180 engines by the end of this decade. McCain also blamed the U.S. contractor that acquires the engines, United Launch Alliance, and two senators who support the company, Richard Shelby, a Republican, and Dick Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, for thwarting the committee's instructions.The manufacturer is owned primarily by the Russian government and controlled by several of Putin's confidants, according to the lawmakers.
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