Russia Will Suspend ISS Cooperation Until Sanctions Are Lifted


Russia has stated that it will cease collaboration with other nations on the International Space Station until the country’s sanctions are eliminated. The “establishment of normal cooperation between partners” on the ISS and other programs, according to Dmitry Rogozin, the chairman of Russian space agency Roscosmos, is only feasible with the “full and unconditional withdrawal of illegal sanctions.”

Rogozin claims to have challenged the sanctions in letters to NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, according to translated versions of his tweets. The CSA confirmed the letter’s legitimacy to The Verge but declined to comment further. Rogozin also shared photographs of what looks to be each country’s response. The ESA was also contacted by The Verge, but no response was received right away.


While NASA did not officially confirm the validity of the letter, it did accept Rogozin’s views and stated that the ISS continues to operate with Roscosmos assistance. “NASA has been made aware of recent comments about the International Space Station. According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson’s remark, “US sanctions and export control restrictions continue to allow US-Russia civil space collaboration on the space station.” “For the safety and mission of everyone on board the ISS, the professional cooperation between our foreign partners, astronauts, and cosmonauts remains.”

President Joe Biden announced penalties in February, and Rogozin reacted angrily, implying that the space station may come crashing down to Earth without Russia’s help. As my colleague Loren Grush points out, Russia’s departure from the station has the potential to cause serious harm because NASA relies on Russia to keep the ISS in orbit.

Roscosmos and NASA have agreed to work together on the ISS until 2024. The Biden administration revealed intentions to extend the ISS mission through 2030 last year, but Russia has yet to sign on. According to NASA, Russia is considering expanding its cooperation, but Rogozin’s comments make this appear improbable. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth safely earlier this week atop a Russian Soyuz rocket with two cosmonauts. There had been concerns about Vande Hei’s return home due to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, but Roscosmos insisted that he would not be stranded on the ISS.