Russia says it will stop supplying the rocket engines that the United States uses to launch military satellites into orbit, retaliating against Washington’s sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
Addressing a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia would also turn down an American request to extend the use of the International Space Station beyond 2020.
The US relies on Russian-made RD-180 and NK-33 engines to launch military and civilian satellites into space.
Rogozin also said Russia will suspend the operation of GPS satellite navigation system sites in Russia in June and seek talks with Washington on opening similar sites in the United States for Russia’s own system, Glonass.
He threatened to permanently close the GPS sites in Russia if the proposal is not accepted by September.
“We are very concerned about continuing to develop high-tech projects with such an unreliable partner as the United States, which politicizes everything,” Rogozin stated.
The US has announced plans to bar export of high-technology items to Russia, saying it could help the country’s military.
“These sanctions are out of place and inappropriate,” Rogozin said. “We have enough of our own problems.”
Last week, a ban on US aviation companies prohibiting them from buying Russian rocket engines was lifted after the US Federal Claims Court ruled the purchases do not violate American sanctions against Russia.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington have been escalating over the crisis in Ukraine. US sanctions have so far targeted 45 individuals and 19 entities, including SMP Bank and Bank Rossiya. However, despite repeated threats, the US has not yet announced any sanctions that would target key sectors of the Russian economy.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday that Moscow imposed sanctions against more US officials and stressed that Russia’s measure was not a publicity stunt.
Earlier this year, a number of high-ranking US officials – including House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, and Sen. John McCain – were placed under sanctions imposed by the Russian government.