For 27 years, Russia and the United States have worked together to construct and maintain the International Space Station, where research has led to some of the most important discoveries of the 21st century.
With the war between Russia and Ukraine raging and NATO allies imposing strict sanctions on Russia, the head of Russia’s space agency is threatening to leave an American astronaut behind. He even made a video showing his fellow astronauts waving goodbye to him, leaving the future of the space station in question.
Daily Mail reports – Russia’s space program has apparently threatened to leave an American astronaut aboard the International Space Station as it comes crashing down to Earth in a video shared by Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti.
Mark Vande Hei, a married 55-year-old father of two from Texas, is scheduled to return to Kazakhstan from the International Space Station (ISS) with two Russian cosmonauts aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on March 30 after spending nearly a year on board.
But amid United States sanctions against Russia for the human rights violations it is committing in its siege of Ukraine, Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, has threatened to leave him in space.
The threat made by Rogozin has shaken the American astronaut’s family.
He even took the time to produce the chilling video, which was posted to Twitter by NASA Watch.
It features upbeat music with the lyric ‘Farewell’ as the two cosmonauts onboard the ISS with Vande Hei wave him goodbye and detach Russia’s segment of the station – which would send it spiraling to Earth.
RIA Novosti captioned it: ‘The Roscosmos television studio jokingly demonstrated the possibility of Russia withdrawing from the ISS project — the undocking of the Russian segment of the station, without which the American part of the project cannot exist,’ according to a translation from Newsweek.
Vande Hei’s mother Mary, 77, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s a terrible threat. When I first heard it I did a lot of crying. It’s very troubling. We are just doing a lot of praying.’
Mary, a retired teacher from Minneapolis, Minnesota, pleaded for peace, adding: ‘It is really a shame that it’s been politicized like this. It’s quite a shock. His wife, Julie, is very worried in Texas. It’s very hard for her right now.’