Russia “Threatens” to Strand Astronaut in Space

( –  In 2011, Russia agreed to transport American astronauts and their Russian counterparts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). On March 5, the head of the Space Agency in Russia, Dmitry Rogozin, tweeted a spoof video depicting the Russian transport leaving American astronaut Mark Vande stranded on the ISS. Many saw the video as a veiled threat to abandon the US citizen because of sanctions imposed by the United States over Ukraine.

Although Rogozin insisted it was a joke, the video angered former astronaut Scott Kelly, and he spoke out against it. He said the Russians agreed long ago to give American astronauts safe travel, and the supposed joke “crossed the line.”

According to a CBS translation, Rogozin fired back at Kelly’s outrage, telling him he must have dementia and telling him to seek treatment. Other deleted tweets by the Russian outlined threats of destroying the space station.

Kelly said Rogozin is a joke but warned NASA it should prepare for the Russians to back out of their previous agreement. If so, the American government will have to make arrangements to retrieve Vande themselves. The trip would be hard, but not impossible, and it would show Russia perhaps NASA doesn’t need its help after all.

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