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Russia has threatened to end cooperation with other countries on the International Space Station (ISS) until sanctions imposed on the country after its invasion of Ukraine are lifted.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, tweeted that “restoring normal relations between partners” at the ISS and other projects is only possible with the “complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions”.

“The position of our partners is clear: the sanctions will not be lifted,” said Rogozin late on Saturday.

“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.”

Roscosmos will soon set a date for ending Russia’s participation in the ISS.

In his tweets, Rogozin said he had written letters to NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency appealing for the sanctions to be lifted.

“The head of NASA, Senator (Bill) Nelson, the head of the European Space Agency, Josef Aschbacher, and the head of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Lisa Campbell, have responded to my appeal to them and the lifting of sanctions against them demanded a number of companies in the Russian missile and space industry,” he tweeted.

In a response, NASA Administrator Nelson said that “the US continues to support international government cooperation in space, particularly those activities related to the operations of the ISS with Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan.”

“New and existing US export control measures continue to allow for US-Russia cooperation to ensure continued safe operations of the ISS,” he added.

Responding to Rogozin’s request, the CSA said, “I can assure you that Canada continues to support the ISS program and is committed to its safe and successful operation.”

ESA boss Aschbacher replied that he would forward Rogozin’s request to the agency’s member states for consideration.

Rogozin had reacted violently to the sanctions imposed by US President Joe Biden.

NASA said last week that Russia was moving towards extending its cooperation on the ISS until 2030.

The US Space Agency and Russia’s State Space Agency have been the two largest partners on the ISS over the past three decades.

The two organizations have agreed to work together on the ISS through 2024, but on December 31, 2021, the Biden administration committed to extending ISS operations through 2030.

Russia has not yet officially agreed to the extension.

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