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MP foresees dire consequences if Russia slaps sanctions on US in space cooperation

Russian State Duma MP, astronaut says sanctions in the space industry could boomerang on Moscow

MOSCOW, October 27. /TASS/. Potential constraints on cooperation in space between Russia and the US would lead to drastic consequences for both parties, Roman Romanenko, astronaut, Hero of Russia and State Duma MP, told TASS on Friday.

Earlier, Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee for International Affairs Leonid Slutsky stated that Russia may respond to US sanctions not just diplomatically, but through legislation as well. Later State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin confirmed that the lower house is discussing the introduction of a draft law that counters Washington’s anti-Russia sanctions. However, it is too early to speak about any specific content of the document, he said. For its part, Izvestia reported that the sanctions measures may restrict cooperation between Moscow and Washington in space.

"Sanctions in the space industry could boomerang on us. We won’t be able to work on board the International Space Station without a twenty-four-hour connection to the Earth, the internet, their computers and navigation. The US, in its turn, won’t be able to deliver astronauts to orbit without our Soyuzs, and even such an important detail as the ISS toilet was designed by Russian experts, and the parts are ours as well," highlighted Romanenko, who flew to space in 2009 and 2012.

"Neither they (the US), nor we will be able to work at full capacity for at least three years. The ISS is a single body with integrated on-board systems and communications that are closely intertwined, with one system supplementing another," the MP stressed.

Sanctions may lead to an entire loss of cooperation and partnership not just between the US and Russia, but between other ISS member states as well, he said. "This may be a very ill-conceived decision. It is necessary to assess the costs and think long and hard how far back any retaliatory sanctions will push us. A round-table discussion with experts is needed here," Romanenko emphasized.

The politician paid special attention to the fact that the ISS program is vital and beneficial for all of mankind. "By suspending it, we will lose ties to space agencies for a long time, and it will probably be easier to find new, more loyal partners to continue space exploration," he added. "If we stop it (this program) now, we will lose joint operation of the stations, along with collaborative developments and technologies. We are completely integrated and dependent on one another here," the lawmaker warned.