Russia is threatening to abandon the ISS after warning it could crash the space station if war sanctions on Ukraine are not lifted

The future of the International Space Station hangs in the balance after Russia again threatened to abandon the project on Saturday.

The head of the country’s space agency has indicated that it will end cooperation on the orbiting space laboratory in response to international sanctions over the space laboratory war in Ukraine.

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin with Vladimir Putin


Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin with Vladimir PutinPhoto credit: AP:Associated Press

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin said that a timetable for the completion of the ISS project will soon be presented to the Russian leadership.

It follows similar threats did the 58-year-old last month, to which Roscosmos later rowed back.

Rogozin’s latest comments came after the United States, European Union and Canadian space agencies missed a deadline to meet Russian calls for sanctions on Russian companies and hardware to be lifted.

Rogozin told reporters that the state agency is preparing a report on prospects for international cooperation on the station.

The report will be submitted to federal authorities after Roscosmos completes its analysis.

Rogozin hinted on Russian state television that Western sanctions, some of which predate Russia’s current military operations in Ukraine, could disrupt the operation of Russian spacecraft sending cargo to the ISS.

Russia is also sending manned missions to the space station.

He stressed that Western partners need the space station and cannot cope without Russia.

He claimed that no one but Russia could supply fuel to the station, which orbits about 250 miles above the Earth.

Rogozin added that “only the engines of our cargo ships are capable of correcting the orbit of the ISS and protecting it from space debris.”

Later on Saturday, Rogozin wrote on his Telegram channel that he had received replies from his Western colleagues promising to encourage further cooperation on the ISS and its operations.

He reiterated his view that restoring normal relations between partners in the ISS and other joint (space) projects is only possible with the full and unconditional lifting of sanctions.

The space boss branded sanctions against Russia as “illegal”.

The Canadian Space Agency declined to comment. NASA and the European Space Agency did not respond to requests for comment.

Space is one of the last remaining areas of cooperation between Moscow and Western nations.

US-Russian negotiations to resume joint flights to the space station were underway when Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine last month, prompting unprecedented sanctions on Russian state-affiliated entities.

So far, the US and Russia are still working together in space.

A Nasa astronaut caught a Russian ride back to Earth on Wednesday after a US-record 355 days on the International Space Station, returning with two cosmonauts.

Mark Vande Hei landed in a Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan with the Russian Space Agency’s Pyotr Dubrov, who had also spent the past year in space, and Anton Shkaplerov.

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The wind blew the capsule on its side after touchdown and the trio emerged one by one into the late afternoon sun.

Vande Hei’s return followed the usual procedures. A small NASA team of doctors and other personnel were on site for the landing and immediately returned home with the 55-year-old astronaut.

The International Space Station is shared by several space agencies


The International Space Station is shared by several space agenciesPhoto credit: Reuters
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