War in Ukraine: Russia halts cooperation on International Space Station over ‘illegal’ sanctions | world news
Cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS) is to be suspended by Russia in response to sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Roskosmos space agency, branded the situation “unacceptable” and said it will no longer work with partners, including NASA and the European Space Agency at the orbital outpost.
He argued the sanctions are designed to “kill Russia’s economy, plunge our people into despair and hunger and bring our country to its knees,” he said, adding that normal relations can only be achieved with the unconditional lifting of the “illegal” measures be restored.
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While other joint projects such as launches in the wake of the military attack had been cancelled Russia at Ukrainecooperation between space agencies the international laboratory had remained largely unaffected by the ongoing war on Earth.
Just last week, US astronaut Mark Vande Hei landed safely in the same capsule as two Russian cosmonauts in a closely watched return, amid heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over the conflict.
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• A Red Cross convoy bound for the Ukrainian city of Mariupol will make another attempt to evacuate civilians from the besieged port
• As Russia begins to withdraw from Kyiv and Chernihiv, Ukraine said its military has recaptured 29 settlements in those regions
• At least three Russian ballistic missiles were fired from the Crimean peninsula at the Odessa region, but Ukrainian air defenses prevented them from hitting critical infrastructure, the military said
When three cosmonauts boarded the space station last month, Roscosmos rejected proposals they had chosen Wear yellow flight suits with blue trim – the colors of Ukraine’s national flag – in support of the country and said: “Sometimes yellow is just yellow.”
Announcement of US economic sanctions on Kremlin in February, US President Joe Biden ordered high-tech export restrictions against Russia which he said aimed to “degrade” its aerospace industry, including its space program.
Mr Rogozin lashed out at the time, arguing the actions taken could “destroy” ISS teamwork and cause the lab to fall from orbit.
He urged other space agencies to lift sanctions against Russian rocket and space industry companies to ensure work on the station continued, setting a deadline of the end of the month.
In their responses, they pledged to continue working together on the space station, but gave no indication of an easing of economic measures.
Mr. Rogozin wrote on Twitter: “The position of our partners is clear: the sanctions will not be lifted.
“At the same time, fearing the destruction of cooperation on the ISS, where the role of Russia is fundamental to ensure the station’s viability and safety, Western partners make it clear that in reality sanctions are imposed in relation to work in the ISS interests of the ISS will not work.
“I think this situation is unacceptable.”
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He added: “Sanctions from the US, Canada, the European Union and Japan are aimed at blocking the financial, economic and manufacturing activities of our high-tech companies.
“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.
“It’s clear they won’t be able to do that, but the intentions are clear.
“Therefore, I believe that restoring normal relations between partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is only possible with the full and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions.
“Specific proposals from Roskosmos at the time of completing cooperation within the ISS with the space agencies of the United States, Canada, the European Union and Japan will be presented to the leadership of our country in the near future.”