Russia to withdraw cooperation from ISS over economic sanctions

Without announcing a date that formal cooperation will end between Russia and the other ISS project participants, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin has vowed the end is near. Unless the international community offers a "complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions" Russia is going to show everyone.

The Verge:

"The position of our partners is clear: the sanctions will not be lifted," Rogozin says. "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." Rogozin adds that Roscosmos will soon determine a date on when to halt Russia's involvement with the ISS, which will then be reported to Russian government officials.

Rogozin reacted strongly to the sanctions imposed by President Joe Biden in February, making an insinuation that the space station could come crashing down to Earth without Russia's involvement. As my colleague Loren Grush points out, Russia's withdrawal from the station has the potential to do real harm, as NASA relies on Russia to maintain the ISS's position and orientation in space.

On Thursday, NASA said Russia was "moving toward" extending its cooperation on the ISS until 2030, but Rogozin's statements make this seem unlikely. Earlier this week, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei safely returned to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket with two cosmonauts. Prior to his arrival, there had been concerns about his return home amid Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, but Roscosmos maintained that it would not strand Vande Hei on the ISS.