Russia Threatens To Abandon American Astronaut In Space Causing NASA Emergency

Russia has threatened to abandon an American astronaut in space as sanctions levied by the U.S. in response to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine have reportedly divided the International Space Station.

ABC News reports the ISS -- which U.S. and Russian astronauts initially stepped inside in 1998 -- is currently split between the Russian Orbital Segment operated by Russia and the United States Orbital segment operated by the U.S.

The U.S. shuttle program ended in 2011 and its astronauts have since relied on Russian rockets to return to their board station.

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who holds the ongoing record for longest space flight, is scheduled to end his 355-day mission in three weeks by traveling back to Earth with two Russian cosmonauts on a Russian spacecraft set to land in Kazakhstan.

However, President Joe Biden's new sanctions included cutting more than half of Russia's high-tech imports and he claimed it would "degrade their aerospace industry, including their space program," while announcing the sanctions on February 24 via ABC News.

NASA released a statement on the U.S.-Russian civil space cooperation in response to the comment claiming "no changes are planned" and that it planned to continue to support "ongoing in orbit and ground station operations" following the announced sanctions.

Dmitry Rogozin, who leads Russia's Space Agency and is a public supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, posted a video on February 26 threatening to leave Vande Hei behind in space and detach Russia's segment of the ISS completely in response to the United States' sanctions of Russia.

NASA has not publicly responded to Rogozin's threats to abandon Vande Hei in space as of Friday (March 11).

Russia had previously announced plans to abandon the ISS as early as 2025 even before the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

NASA recently announced its plans to crash the International Space Station (ISS) into the Pacific Ocean at the end of 2031.

More than 2 million people have reportedly evacuated Ukraine amid Russia's ongoing invasion of the neighboring country as both sides agreed to a cease-fire to allow more civilians to escape, NBC News reported on Wednesday (March 8).

Putin announced his country would conduct military operations in Eastern Ukraine during an NBC News translation of a speech addressing the Russian population prior to sunrise on February 24 in Moscow.

The announcement served as the final action ahead of an attack by Putin and the Russian military, which the U.S. and European allies to the neighboring Ukraine have attempted to prevent from taking place through diplomatic discussions.

A Ukraine interior minister confirmed to NBC News via text message that "cruise and ballistic missile strikes" were already underway shortly after Putin's announcement.

NBC News correspondent Erin McLaughlin said explosions could be heard from her live shot in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, at 6:00 a.m. local time.

More than 1,000 protesters were reportedly arrested during anti-war protests throughout Russia amid President Putin's announcement to conduct military operations and ensuing attack on Ukraine, BNO News reported.

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