Russia has decided to pull out of the International Space Station (ISS), the leader of the country's space agency Roscosmos revealed in an interview to the state media. The move is blamed to be a result of the ongoing sanctions by the US and its key allies on the Kremlin government for its invasion of Ukraine. Exact timeline of Russia's departure from the ISS programme is yet to be revealed. However, the transcontinental country would continue to work at the space station for some time — to maintain the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS).
Roscosmos Head Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with Russia's state-owned news agency Tass that the decision on pulling out of the International Space Station (ISS) had already been taken.
"We're not obliged to talk about it publicly," he reportedly said in the interview. "I can say this only — in accordance with our obligations, we will warn our partners a year in advance about the end of work on the ISS."
He underlined that the decision of leaving the ISS programme, which was launched back in 1998, is aimed to point out the country's readiness to deploy its own, multifunctional Russian Orbital Service Station.
Russia's Roscosmos in 2015 announced that it would remain a part of the ISS until 2024. It had said that it would detach the Russian modules after that and form its own space station in low Earth orbit.
The ISS programme, which is meant to help space exploration and aid astronauts in their long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, has so far been one of the exceptional areas where the US and Russia have cooperated despite their unfavourable relationship.
NASA in March insisted that ISS would remain unaffected by the war between Ukraine and Russia. Three Russian cosmonauts, Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergei Korsakov, also blasted off to the ISS in the month despite the outrage over Russia's attack on Ukraine.
However, Rogozin last month threatened to end Russia's contribution in the ISS programme and terminate cooperation with its Western counterparts — comprising the US, Europe, and Canada — in the midst of the Ukraine conflict.
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