The Russian space agency and Nasa appear to be locked in an argument over the use of the International Space Station.
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, said the Russian space agency will use its part of the ISS to do everything it “considers necessary and useful”.
It was the latest in a spat between the two space agencies that emerged after Russian astronauts posed with flags in what appeared to be anti-Ukraine propaganda.
Nasa had criticised those pictures, arguing that the space station is intended to be politically neutral. The US space agency’s statement was very rare, and broke with a recent policy of largely attempting to avoid any political fallouts on the floating lab, despite tensions on the ground.
“Nasa strongly rebukes Russia using the International Space Station for political purposes to support its war against Ukraine, which is fundamentally inconsistent with the station’s primary function among the 15 international participating countries to advance science and develop technology for peaceful purposes,” a spokesperson had said.
The images that began the latest dispute had been posted on Roscosmos’s official Telegram channel earlier in the week. They showed cosmonauts in the Russian segment of the space station, holding the flags of the Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, and celebrating Russian military successes in Ukraine.