- Russia said on Tuesday that it would end its role in the International Space Station from 2024.
- The decades-long project had been a symbol of US-Russia cooperation, but came under strain recently.
- Russia hinted it may quit after it invaded Ukraine, and is touting a plan to build its own station.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Russia said on Tuesday it will pull out of the International Space Station (ISS), ending decades of cooperation with the US and other spacefaring nations.
The announcement was made by the agency's head after a discussion with President Vladimir Putin, the Russian state news outlet TASS reported.
It remarks reported by TASS, the head of Russia's Roscosmos agency, Yuri Borisov, said that Russia would fulfil its existing commitments but would do no more.
The agency had hinted that it may pull out of the ISS earlier this year as relations between Russia and the West tanked in the wake Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
Russia will focus its efforts on building its own space station, which it wants to start building in 2024, Borisov said.
There are currently two manned space stations orbiting the earth: the ISS and Tiangong, China's space station that is nearing completion.
Despite the announcement, Roscosmos has not officially announced its withdrawal to NASA, a senior NASA official said, according to Reuters space reporter Joey Roulette.
The ISS is 24 years old and nearing the end of its life, but NASA has previously said it could keep it going until 2030.
Borisov, formerly the prime minister of Russia, took the lead of Roscosmos on July 15, replacing former director-general Dmitry Rogozin on July 15.
Though Russia has been mulling over pulling out of the ISS for years, tensions between NASA and Roscosmos have been rising over the war in Ukraine.
Former Roscosmos Director-General Dmitry Rogozin predicted in April that Russia would pull out of the ISS, but hinted that the decision could change if Western sanctions were lifted.
NASA also issued a rare statement condemning the use of the ISS for "for political purposes to support [the] war against Ukraine" after Roscosmos published pictures of ISS cosmonauts holding flags of the Luhansk People's Republic, a breakaway region in Ukraine that Russia claimed to be protecting by mounting its invasion.