Head of Russian space agency says ISS could be threatened by US sanctions

The International Space Station (ISS) could be in danger from sanctions imposed on Russia, the head of the country's space agency has warned.

Roscosmos director general Dimitry Rogozin also suggested that President Joe Biden was suffering from Alzheimer's and told the US not to "behave like an irresponsible gamer" in a bizarre Twitter thread.

After saying the US had already sanctioned Russia's space program by blocking access to radiation-resistant microelectronics, Rogozin wondered if Biden was willing to destroy the cooperation between the two countries on the ISS.

That could be potentially dangerous as the Russian segment of the ISS looks after the guidance, navigation and control for the whole station, the European Space Agency has said.

Russian cargo ships also regularly boost the orbit of the ISS and, according to Rogozin, help it avoid "space garbage, with which your talented businessmen have polluted the near-Earth orbit".

"If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and crashing into the United States or Europe?," Rogozin continued.

"There is also the chance of impact of a 500-ton structure on India and China. Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect? The ISS does not fly over Russia, so all the risks are yours. Are you ready for them?

"Gentlemen, when you plan sanctions, be sure to check who is thinking them up and make sure they're not suffering from Alzheimer's disease - just in case, and I'm not speaking figuratively."

NASA has said it continues working with "Roscosmos and our other international partners in Canada, Europe, and Japan to maintain safe and continuous ISS operations" in a statement to Euronews.

"The new export control measures will continue to allow US-Russia civil space cooperation."

However, if things do go wrong one person is ready to step up - controversial billionaire Elon Musk.

In a reply to Rogozin's thread, Musk posted an image of SpaceX's logo.

Asked by another Twitter user if that meant the company would get involved if there was a chance the ISS could deorbit, Musk replied simply: "Yes".