Moscow: The US may not be a part of the joint space project Vanera-D with Russia to explore planet Venus following American sanctions on the country and Moscow will carry out the mission alone or with China’s participation, the head of the Russian space agency said on Saturday.

Venera-D is a planned joint space exploration project between Russia’s Roscosmos and US space agency NASA to explore Venus.

The US and its allies have decided to block assets of four large Russian banks, impose export controls and sanction oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin after he ordered a “special military operation” against Ukraine on Thursday.

The sanctions “will degrade” Russia’s “aerospace industry, including their space programme”.

The United States’ participation in the project is impossible due to the sanctions, Director General of the Russian State Space Agency Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.

Rogozin said Russia will carry out the mission alone or with China’s participation.

The Russian space agency chief said that he had handed down instructions on Friday to launch talks with Beijing on mutual technical assistance for all space research missions.

On Friday, Russia used its veto power in the UN Security Council to block a resolution proposed by the US and other Western countries that would have condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. India, China and the UAE abstained from voting on the resolution.

Roscosmos has also suspended its cooperation with European partners on space launches from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou and withdrawn its technical personnel from the French Guiana in response to the EU sanctions following Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine.

There are 87 Russian citizens currently at the Kourou cosmodrome. Their departure is currently being organised, TASS news agency reported.

The EU imposed tough financial and technological sanctions against 64 key Russian structures, including the Progress rocket and space center.

Rogozin also warned the US that the slew of sanctions imposed on Moscow can “destroy our cooperation” on the International Space Station (ISS) and asked Washington if it wants to threaten India and China with the “possibility of a 500-tonne structure falling” on them.

Russia and the US are the major partners in the ISS programme, which also includes Canada, Japan and several European nations like France, Italy and Spain.

There are currently four NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one European astronaut living and working on board the orbiting outpost.

Also read: Ukraine president Zelenskyy speaks with Modi, seeks India’s support at UNSC


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