The head of the Russian space agency said that it will stop cooperation with other countries on the International Space Station (ISS) until sanctions against the country are lifted. Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency, reveals this in a recent tweet. In the tweet, Rogozin claims his letters are already with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The letter is asking these organizations to lift all sanctions or face Russia’s ban on ISS. He also posted pictures of each country’s response, which the CSA has confirmed but declined to comment further. As of the time of this report, there is no response from NASA and ESA.
However, a letter that appears to have the signature of NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson reads…”The United States will continue to support cooperation in space, particularly activities related to the operation of the International Space Station by Russia, Canada, Europe, and Japan. New and existing U.S. export controls continue to allow for cooperation between the United States and Russia to ensure the continued safe operation of the International Space Station”.
The CSA also said: “I can assure you that Canada will continue to support the International Space Station program and is committed to its safe and successful operation”. Meanwhile, ESA Administrator, Josef Aschbacher claims Rogozin’s request is now with ESA member states for evaluation.
Russia is playing its only card which is very huge
“Our partners’ position is clear: Sanctions will not ease. Sanctions are to stifle the Russian economy, drive our people into despair and starvation…,” Rogozin said in a tweet. It also claims that Russia will soon set a specific date to completely ban ISS cooperation with other countries.
Rogozin, who has previously said sanctions could undermine the U.S.-Russian partnership on the International Space Station, reacted strongly to U.S. sanctions imposed in February. He suggests that the space station could fall to Earth without Russia’s involvement. It is also true that a Russian withdrawal from the space station could cause serious harm. This is because NASA relies on Russia to maintain the position and orientation of the International Space Station in space.
NASA said on Thursday that Russia was working to extend its cooperation on the International Space Station until 2030. However, Rogozin’s announcement makes that seem unlikely. Earlier this week, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two Russian cosmonauts returned to Earth safely on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Before that, there have been fears that Russia will not bring the American astronaut back to earth. However, Russia did not do that and insists that it would not keep Van der Hei behind.