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UK eases sanctions on Russia under Mars exploration project

In particular, the amendments concern sale of rocket fuel in the framework of the ExoMars 2020 Mission
European Space Agency's ExoMars rover  Aaron Chown/PA via AP
European Space Agency's ExoMars rover
© Aaron Chown/PA via AP

LONDON, October 3. /TASS/. The United Kingdom has eased its Export Control Order on restrictive measures against Russia for the sale of rocket fuel under the ExoMars-2020 space exploration mission, according to the data posted on the UK website of legal information on Thursday.

The UK has amended its Export Control (Russia, Crimea and Sevastopol Sanctions) Order in the section of goods and technologies included in the EU common military list.

As the explanatory note says, the amendments are made "to clarify the effect of other interpretation provisions," specifically, to amend "the description of the activities which require prior authorization" under the Russia Sanctions Regulation.

Thus, the previous version of the Sanctions Order allowed the supplies of only various types of Hydrazine (used as a rocket fuel component) "to certain launchers," following the EU approval. The new amendment allows the supplies of "certain substances destined for the use of certain launchers or launches or fueling of certain satellites, or for certain tests and flights in the framework of the ExoMars 2020 Mission".

In 2017, the European Union exempted rocket fuel required for the ExoMars 2020 mission from the sectoral economic sanctions against Russia. The amendments to the Sanctions Order were submitted to the UK parliament for consideration on September 9 and automatically went into force 22 days later.

ExoMars is a joint program of the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos federal space agency to study Mars. The mission will be launched in July-August 2020 by a Proton-M carrier rocket with a Briz-M booster from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The project aims to study the Martian surface, its atmosphere and climate.