Russia will withdraw from the International Space Station project after 2024 and will focus on deployment of its own space station, the head of the Russian space agency said Tuesday.
Roscosmos CEO Yuri Borisov’s announcement is the latest reflection of disintegrating relations between the U.S. and Russia. The two nations have worked together on the station for almost three decades. Europe, Japan and Canada are also partners.
“Of course, we will comply with all our commitments to our partners, but the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been made,” Borisov said. “I think we will have started work on the Russian space station by that time.”
Robyn Gatens, director of the space station for NASA, said Russian officials have not notified NASA of their plans. Science historian Jordan Bimm said it would be possible to keep the station running without Russia – but “practically, it could be a nightmare depending on how hard Russia wanted to make it for NASA and its remaining partners.”
The announcement does not appear to alter a deal cut this month between NASA and Roscosmos for astronauts to continue riding Russian rockets and for Russian cosmonauts to catch lifts to the International Space Station with SpaceX beginning this fall.
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►Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was presented Tuesday with the Sir Winston Churchill Leadership Award by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who drew comparisons between the two leaders in times of war.
►Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, seeking to bolster support for his country during an African tour, said Russia favors reforming the U.N. Security Council to give a more powerful role to developing nations.
►Mariupol mayoral adviser Petro Andriushchenko says the Russians are considering renaming Mariupol “Zhdanov.” Andrei Zhdanov was known as the “propagandist-in-chief” of Josef Stalin. The city was called Zhdanov from 1948 to 1989.
►The European Investment Bank said it will provide $1.6 billion to help Ukraine repair damaged infrastructure and “resume critically important projects addressing the urgent needs of Ukrainian people.”
►Three Ukrainian militants from Donbas who fought for Russia were convicted of treason and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
As if living under constant fear of Russian attacks weren’t unnerving enough, Ukrainians are also contending with a problem familiar to consumers in much of the world but on a much larger scale – rising inflation.
The cost of goods and services in the embattled country has climbed from 10% in January to 21.5% in June, “mainly the result of war-driven shocks and global price pressures,” the National Bank of Ukraine said. Inflation has grown steadily every month since the Feb. 24 Russian invasion, while year-over-year fuel prices skyrocketed by nearly 91%.
Last week, the central bank kept its key interest rate at 25%, the highest in seven years as the country grapples with an economy that took a 40% downturn in the second quarter of 2022 amid the war. The bank also forecasts inflation to increase to more than 30% this year. By comparison, the U.S. is contending with an inflation rate of about 9%, its highest in four decades.
The NBU pointed out Russia’s assault caused one-third of businesses to suspend operations, partly because of physical damage or risks but also because of disrupted supply chains and large-scale migration throughout the country.
The bank envisions an Ukrainian economic recovery of about 5% to 6% per year in 2023–2024, but warns: “The key risk to the forecast is that the war of liberation against the Russian invaders will last longer.”
Defense testimony in the Russian drug trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner was temporarily halted Tuesday after a U.S. State Department official fainted in the courtroom, Russian media reported. The trial is expected to reconvene Wednesday. Griner spoke briefly with ABC News during a break in the courtroom, saying she has “no complaints. Just waiting patiently” for resolution of her case.
Griner, 31, has been in custody since being arrested on drug charges at a Moscow-area airport in mid-February, days before Russia invaded Ukraine. She has pleaded guilty and acknowledged that she was carrying vape canisters containing cannabis oil. Griner said she accidentally packed the cannabis, which was prescribed by a physician, in her luggage and had no criminal intent. She could face up to 10 years in prison.
MAPPING AND TRACKING RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE:Latest visual explanations and annotated maps
Russia missiles slammed into residential buildings in and around the port city of Odesa for a third straight day as the Kremlin intensified the war beyond Ukraine’s Donbas region. More than a dozen missiles struck private buildings, port infrastructure and coastal villages, the Ukraine military said. Russia said the attacks targeted Western arms caches and would not affect crucial grain shipments scheduled to leave Odesa, possibly within days, under a deal struck between the two nations, Turkey and the U.N.
European Union energy ministers agreed Tuesday to curb their natural gas consumption by 15%, one day after Russia announced the latest in a series of cutbacks in supply to the energy-dependent bloc. The agreement, which drew support from all 27 EU ministers except Hungary’s, provided exemptions to some nations for technical reasons related to their supply chains.
“By acting together to reduce the demand for gas … the EU has secured the strong foundations for the indispensable solidarity between member states in the face of Putin’s energy blackmail,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
Ukraine keeps pushing to hold Russia legally accountable as it documents atrocities in the months-long invasion, having registered over 20,000 potential war crimes so far. Kyiv’s regional police has exhumed more than 1,300 bodies and upwards of 300 people are still missing, department head Andrii Nebytov said.
“Concerning the exhumations, I am sure that we are far from finishing it,” Nebytov said. “This week we found a man who was executed with his hands tied behind his back and a hat over his head. The expert says that during the execution the man was on his knees.”
As of July, Ukrainian prosecutors have identified 127 suspected war criminals, the prosecutor general’s office said. Fifteen of them are being held in Ukraine as prisoners of war.
Contributing: The Associated Press