Updated May 2, 2022 - World

Russia says it's pulling out of International Space Station over sanctions

A rocket launches
The Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft blasts off to the International Space Station from the Moscow-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 8, 2021. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

The leader of Russia's space agency on Saturday again warned that the country will pull out of the International Space Station over sanctions meant to punish the country for Vladimir Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but he did not give a timetable or say when the move will be announced, per Russian state media.

What he's saying: “The decision has been taken already, we’re not obliged to talk about it publicly,” said general director Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, per state media outlets Tass and RIA Novosti via Bloomberg.

  • “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.”

Background: Rogozin has threatened on multiple occasions to pull out of the space station and let it fall back to Earth in an uncontrolled deorbit in protest of sanctions on Russia, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

  • But NASA had said last month Russia was committed to the ISS, despite threats from Rogozin that it would end cooperation on the station.

The big picture: Before Russia's invasion, the space station had been one of the rare areas of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia despite the increasingly hostile relationship that had developed between the two countries.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to note Rogozin did not give timetable for pulling out of the ISS or say when a more official announcement would be made.

Go deeper