Russia’s Decision Day on ISS Nears as Western Sanctions Remain

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

Russian participation in the International Space Station (ISS) is up in the air (sorry, bad pun) as partners in the orbiting facility show no sign of lifting sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine by a March 31 deadline. Earlier this month, TASS reported on a threat by Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin.

“We will wait until the end of March. The lack of response or a negative response would be a basis for our decision,” he said, without specifying what kind of decision it would be….

During an earlier meeting with Russian lawmakers, Rogozin said the work of the International Space Station was no longer effective amid the current geopolitical sitaution. He also said that ‘colossal funding’ will be required to continue ISS operations until 2030, otherwise “the station will fall into pieces.”

The United States, Canada and Japan have imposed sanctions on Russia over the invasion. The European Space Agency is abiding by sanctions imposed by its member states. There are no signs the sanctions will be lifted as brutal fighting continues in Ukraine.

Roscosmos is the state-owned company that owns nearly all of Russia’s space industry. A number of Roscosmos companies have been sanctioned over the Russian invasion of Ukaine. Rogozin has been personally under U.S. sanctions since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

NASA officials have said it would be difficult, not to mention expensive, to keep the station operating if Russia pulls out of ISS. Roscosmos provides crew, supplies, fuel and orbital re-boost of the station. There is an entire Russian section of the facility.