Putin on a tour of new space center: Russia will continue using Kazakhstan's Baikonur

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow will continue to lease the Baikonur space complex in Kazakhstan.

Putin on Friday toured the construction site of the Vostochny launch pad in the Far East which is designed to ease Russia's reliance on its ex-Soviet neighbor. Officials have put the total cost of the Vostochny project at about $10 billion. Putin, however, insisted that Russia would not leave the base in Baikonur.

Amid tensions over fees payments a Russian official said in February Russia may suspend its lease for some facilities at Baikonur.

It was from Baikonur where Yuri Gagarin made the world's first even manned flight into space 52 years ago today.

The first launch from Vostochny, near the Chinese border, is expected in 2015.