The head of Russia’s space agency said on Saturday that the country would leave the International Space Station (ISS), which Moscow said was the result of economic sanctions imposed as a result of the country’s conflict in Ukraine. This was reported by Bloomberg.
Two Russian state news agencies, TASS and RIA Novosti, reported on Saturday that Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin had said in an interview that the decision had already been approved. “The decision has already been made, we are not obliged to speak about it publicly,” he reportedly said on state television. “I can only say one thing – in accordance with our commitments, we will inform our partners about the completion of work on the ISS with a notice, 1 year in advance.” Earlier in April, Rogozin criticized a number of Western economic sanctions against Russia, saying Roscosmos would suspend the International Space Station’s cooperation with NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
“I believe that the restoration of normal relations between the partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible only with the complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions,” he wrote on Twitter at the time.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the United States, along with the European Union and the United Kingdom, has imposed a series of economic sanctions on Moscow, the Russian president and many in the leader’s inner circle.
For many years, the ISS has been a bright spot in US-Russian relations, notably given the past relations that these countries had in the Cold War-era “space race” when both countries worked hard to gain dominance in space exploration. However, Russia has been in isolation on the world stage for several months, and the ties of the multinational project are being broken amid Putin’s demands.
According to Bloomberg, earlier this week, three Americans and an Italian astronaut arrived on the space station, as well as three Americans, three Russians and a crew member from Germany. According to reports, NASA intends to continue operating the space station until 2030.