Russia Threatens To Quit The International Space Station Over Sanctions

by : Shola Lee on :
Russia Threatens To Quit The International Space Station Over Sanctions
Russia Threatens To Quit The International Space Station Over Sanctions (Alamy)

Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia's space programme Roscosmos, has announced plans to pull out of the International Space Station.

Rogozin's comments aren't out of the blue, as the space chief recently took to Twitter to threaten that Russia might pull out of the International Space Station (ISS), following a spate of sanctions from Western countries.

Even so, news of Russia's departure would be huge as the ISS has seen astronauts across the world work together since its launch in 1998. Now, however, Rogozin appears to have firmed up his plans.

Dmitry Rogozin. Credit: Alamy
Dmitry Rogozin. Credit: Alamy

Tensions surrounding Russia's continuing involvement with the ISS have been rife over the past few months. As Western countries began implementing economic sanctions, in response to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, doubt was cast over Russia's continued involvement with the space station.

In early March, Russia rebuked the sanctions, announcing they would no longer sell rocket engines to the US.

Later, Rogozin took to Twitter, threatening to leave the ISS, and even had a spat with Elon Musk over the decision.


Now, Rogozin has reportedly announced the course of action Russia will take if they do leave the space station, Bloomberg reports.

"The decision has been taken already, we’re not obliged to talk about it publicly," Rogozin said in an interview with state TV.

"I can say this only – in accordance with our obligations, we’ll inform our partners about the end of our work on the ISS with a year’s notice."

While Rogozin outlines the contingency for Russia's potential departure from the station, astronauts themselves are continuing to cooperate.


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Initially, there were concerns about US astronaut Mark Vande Hei's returning to Earth after Rogozin took to Twitter, threatening to abandon Vande Hei in response to Biden's sanctions.

However, very much still considering themselves 'one crew', Vande Hei returned from the ISS on 30 March, with his two colleagues Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov on board a Russian Soyuz MS-19.

Shkaplerov said: "People have problems on Earth. On orbit, we are one crew, and I think ISS is like a symbol of the friendship, cooperation (and) our flexible future of exploration of space.


"Thank you very much, my crew members. You are like my space brothers and space sister."

NASA reiterated this position of unity among the astronauts, saying that 'no changes are planned' in regards to the cooperation of the US and Russia in space, where the two countries have collaborated to construct and maintain the ISS.

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Shola Lee

Shola Lee began her journalism career while studying for her undergraduate degree at Queen Mary, University of London and Columbia University in New York. She has written for the Columbia Spectator, QM Global Bloggers, CUB Magazine, UniDays, and Warner Brothers' Wizarding World Digital. Recently, Shola took part in the 2021 BAFTA Crew and BBC New Creatives programme before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories, and features.

Topics: Technology, Russia, International Space Station, Space