Russia’s space agency Roscosmos will halt its cooperation with international partners like NASA on the International Space Station (ISS), citing crippling sanctions designed to “kill” the Russian economy.
Dmitry Rogozin, the chief of Roscosmos, made the announcement in a series of statements on Twitter, in which he said that collaboration on joint projects like the ISS would only resume when the sanctions are lifted.
“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.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbor and topple its government, Western allies imposed sweeping sanctions, including export bans on key technologies.
President Joe Biden ordered high-tech export restrictions against Moscow that he said were designed to “degrade” Russia’s aerospace industry, which includes its space program.
At the time, Rogozin suggested the U.S.-imposed measures could “destroy” ISS teamwork and lead to the space station falling out of orbit.
In his newest remarks on Saturday, Rogozin said the sanctions were unacceptable and, unless they’re lifted, the “ISS will die by its own death.”
Rogozin said that the sanctions from the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Japan “are aimed at blocking financial, economic and production activities of our high-tech enterprises.”
The Roscosmos chief shared letters he had written to NASA and other agencies requesting their intervention in getting the sanctions lifted, but to no avail.
“The position of our partners is clear: the sanctions will not be lifted,” Rogozin wrote.
“The purpose of the sanctions is to kill the Russian economy, plunge our people into despair and hunger, and bring our country to its knees,” he continued.
While Rogozin said he believes the sanctions wouldn’t accomplish their intended aim, they’re grounds for terminating cooperation between Roscosmos and its international partners.
Rogozin did not specify when the cooperation on the ISS would come to a halt, only that detailed proposals for the timing of severing ties would be put to Russian leadership “in the near future.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to NASA and the European Space Agency for comment on Rogozin’s remarks.
The space station was established in part to improve American-Russian relations following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Cold War hostility that drove the original U.S.–Soviet space race.