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Russian space chief suspends ISS cooperation amid Western sanctions – Business Insider

  • The head of Russia’s space agency said it will stop cooperating on the ISS with NASA and others.
  • Dmitry Rogozin says he wrote to NASA and other space agencies criticizing Western sanctions.
  • In a tweet, Rogozin said a partnership is possible only with “unconditional lifting” of sanctions.

Russia is suspending its cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS), according to Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The country will also suspend its partnership with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Rogozin said.

Newsweek and others first reported the story. 

In a series of tweets written in Russian on Saturday, Rogozin said: “I believe that the restoration of normal relations between partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible only with the complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions.”

Rogozin said he sent a letter to NASA, the ESA, and the CSA demanding that they lift sanctions against a number of enterprises in the Russian rocket and space industry. 

NASA responded with its own letter, which appeared to be signed by NASA chief Bill Nelson, according to a photo shared by Rogozin.

Insider has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the letter, which said: “The US continues to support international government space cooperation, especially those activities associated with operating the ISS with Russia, Canada, Europe, and Japan.”

It added: “New and existing US export control measures continue to allow cooperation between the US and Russia to ensure continued safe operations of the ISS.”

A screenshot of Rogozin's tweet saying: "I believe that the restoration of normal relations between partners in the Internation Space Station and other joint projects is possible only with the complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions."

A screenshot of Rogozin’s tweet.
Insider

The ISS is a multi-nation space station in low Earth orbit and is operated primarily by partner agencies including NASA, ESA, CSA, Roscomos, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 

Per Rogozin’s tweets, ESA’s director-general Dr Josef Aschbacher said he would forward Rogozin’s request to the ESA member states “as these matters fall under their responsibility.”

Lisa Campbell, CSA’s president, gave Rogozin a response similar to NASA’s, according to the screenshots. “I can assure you that Canada continues to support the ISS program, and is dedicated to its safe and successful operations.”

All the space agencies, including Roscosmos, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, made outside of normal working hours. 

The US and allies have imposed sanctions on Russia in a bid to put pressure on Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. This prompted Rogozin to previously say the country would end its cooperation with the ISS but he did not follow suit then.

Such sanctions include the ban of SWIFT payments, the prohibition of any transaction involving Russian gold, or the country’s wealthiest men getting their assets seized.

Rogozin’s tweets on Saturday also said: “Specific proposals of Roscosmos on the timing of the completion of cooperation within the framework of the ISS with the space agencies of the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Japan will be reported to the leadership of our country in the near future.”