Russia claims it will purchase space parts from China, but China says no way

That has to hurt.

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the country's space program, Roscosmos, has backed itself into a corner.

In reaction to the assault, the US announced a new round of penalties, several of which are especially targeted at Russia's space industry.

Russian leadership is scrambling as a result of the new restrictions, with Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin seeking assistance from China. However, according to Space News, it is unclear whether China would continue to assist Russia in its space operations.

"Despite our best efforts, the Russian microelectronic industry remains outside the Roscosmos boundary," Rogozin stated in a new interview, according to Russian news agency Interfax. "In any case, producing everything is impossible." There are, however, nice people in the world."

According to the source, Rogozin and Roscosmos are aiming to "purchase spare parts for satellites whose supplies will be restricted due to sanctions" from China.

'Our connections with China are fantastic,' Rogozin continued. "We'll fix these issues by just buying products from our Chinese colleagues that we can't make."

The new round of sanctions effectively imploded Russia's economy, with the currency falling and the European Union cutting Russia off from the global interbank payments system SWIFT.

To make matters worse for Russia, it appears that China is hesitant to assist in the circumvention of any of the new measures.

According to a recent Reuters report, an unnamed Chinese official seemed to make it apparent that China may not help Russia avoid US sanctions after all. The idea is that assisting Russia at this time would be extremely unpopular and potentially isolate China economically from the rest of the globe.

Dealing with Russia to get around sanctions would constitute a "tacit or explicit accommodation to Russia's invasion of a sovereign country in the heart of Europe," according to the official.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, echoed those comments but separated China's position from the ongoing crisis, telling reporters last week that "our relationship features non-alliance, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of any third party."

Wenbin continued, "We always decide on our viewpoint and policy based on the merits of the subject itself."

Over the previous few years, Russia and China have signed multiple agreements to explore deep space. For example, the two governments are working together on a "International Lunar Research Station" with the hopes of establishing a permanent facility on the Moon.

However, the current state of these initiatives is anything but apparent. According to SpaceNews, the new penalties may make establishing the technologies required for such a venture more challenging.

Because NASA is deliberately separating itself from Roscosmos, Russia's space program will most likely have to carve its own route in the future. ExoMars, a joint European-Russian mission to Mars, may not launch this year after all, according to the European Space Agency.

China may also be reluctant to assist the country.

"I think China is increasingly finding itself between a rock and a hard place," University of Lapland Chinese culture expert Matti Nojonen told SpaceNews, adding that "how [the invasion] unified all the Western nations must have astonished China."

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