Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, announced today that Russia is suspending all Soyuz-2 rocket operations with Arianespace at French Guiana in response to the sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) over Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.
In response to EU sanctions against our enterprises, Roskosmos is suspending cooperation with European partners over organising space launches from the Kourou cosmodrome and withdrawing its technical personnel… from French Guiana,” Dmitry Rogozin, chief of the Russian space agency, said on messaging app Telegram.
The next planned Russian launch from French Guiana for Arianespace is set for April, launching two EU GPS-type satellites. That launch is now in question. Russia only has 87 engineers in French Guiana, but whether Europe can launch without them is unlikely.
Russia’s other Arianespace commercial customer, the satellite constellation OneWeb, is owned jointly by the United Kingdom and private Indian investors and has a launch scheduled from Kazakhstan in March. While Russia probably intends to proceed with that launch, Arianespace, the EU, and the UK government might respond to Russia’s actions today by cancelling it in turn.
Meanwhile, there are hints coming from the Ukraine that Russia’s invasion is beginning to bog down. If so, expect Putin to try to negotiate a quick settlement, whereby he insists that the Ukraine abandon its effort to join NATO and commit to allying itself with Russia. Based on the poor support NATO provided in this war, expect the Ukraine to agree in some manner.
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