US Dependent on Russia for NASA Launches; Well Guess What? Russia Fires Back With More Sanctions: NASA, Pepsi, McDonald's, Autos in Spotlight

Not many people realize the US is dependent on Russian Soyuz rockets to ferry astronauts to the international space station.

Former former NASA administrator Michael Griffin told ABC News "We’re in a hostage situation. Russia can decide that no more U.S. astronauts will launch to the International Space Station and that’s not a position that I want our nation to be in.”

That bit of news came out late July, and is under review by Russia today.

NASA, Pepsi, McDonald's, Autos in Spotlight

Itar-Tass reports Russia’s retaliation to foreign sanctions may be heavy.

Russia can and must respond to foreign sanctions in a balanced way, but at the same time the retaliation must be strong enough to let the countries that imposed the restrictions feel its effects, says the director of the Globalization Problems Institute Mikhail Delyagin, in the past an aide to Russia’s prime minister.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday asked the government to consider retaliatory measures in response to western sanctions against Russia, but in a way that would not harm the interests of domestic manufacturers and consumers. The government is now in the process of discussing the possibility of banning European air carriers from flying to Asia and back through Russian air space. The measure was proposed after Russia’s lowcoster Dobrolyot declared it was cancelling all flights due to sanctions - its contracts for leasing Boeing liners of US manufacture had been annulled. Earlier, Vladimir Putin warned that the authorities might take a closer look at who was operating in the Russian energy market and in what way.

“Russia’s response to Western sanctions may vary from country to country. In relations with the United States Russia may raise the question of banning US fast food outlets, which treat their customers to products harmful to health. The same applies to the marketing of PepsiCo products and genetically modified goods from the US,” the expert said.

“Also, Russia may stop letting NASA use its rockets as a means of delivering cargoes to the International Space Station, a service the United States is so much interested in. Or, if asked to go ahead with space cooperation, Moscow may address Washington with its own conditions,” Delyagin said.

“As far as Germany as Russia’s main economic partner in the European Union is concerned, the two countries have strong bonds in power engineering and the automobile industry. But Russia may as well import high precision machine tools from advanced countries in the Asia-Pacific Region, which will surely result in direct losses for German manufacturers,” the analyst said.

“Most countries in the European Union may find rather sensitive the possibility of banning Asia-bound flights over Russian territory. The government is considering such an option at the moment. In my opinion it would be a far more elegant move to keep the air space open, but to considerably raise transit fees European air carriers pay for flying over Siberia and to used the extra revenues to improve Russia’s air traffic control service on the ground,” Delyagin said.

“The United States and the European Union have no intention of confining themselves to the sanctions that have been introduced already. For that reason Russia may eventually declare its walkout from the World Trade Organization and within a six-month deadline to cancel its obligations to foreign partners in view of force majeure circumstances,” the analyst pointed out.

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