Director of space agency Roscosmos says partnership will be restored only when ‘illegal sanctions’ are removed
Russia says it will end cooperation with western countries over the International Space Station until sanctions are lifted.
Russia’s space director said on Saturday that the restoration of normal ties between partners at the ISS and other joint space projects would be possible only once western sanctions against Moscow were lifted.
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, said in a social media post that the aim of the sanctions was to “kill Russian economy and plunge our people into despair and hunger, to get our country on its knees”. He added that they “won’t succeed in it, but the intentions are clear”.
“That’s why I believe that the restoration of normal relations between the partners at the International Space Station (ISS) and other projects is possible only with full and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions,” Rogozin said.
Rogozin said Roscosmos’ proposals on when to end cooperation over the ISS with space agencies of the US, Canada, the EU and Japan would soon be reported to Russian authorities. He has previously said that the sanctions could “destroy” the US-Russian partnership on the ISS.
The west has introduced sweeping sanctions against Russia over what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine, launched on 24 February.
Despite the tensions, a US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts safely landed in Kazakhstan on Wednesday after leaving the space station aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule.
The European Space Agency said last month it was suspending cooperation with Roscosmos over the ExoMars rover mission to search for signs of life on the surface of Mars.
The British satellite venture OneWeb said last month it had contracted with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to send its satellites into orbit after calling off a 4 March launch of 36 satellites from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan because of last-minute demands imposed on it by Moscow.