International Space Station

Russia's threat to part ways over the international space station underlines how far relations between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated. Photograph: AP

Russia cast doubt on the long-term future of the international space station, a showcase of post-cold war cooperation, as it retaliated on Tuesday against US sanctions over Ukraine.

The country's deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin, said Moscow would reject a US request to prolong the station's use beyond 2020, and ban Washington from using Russian-made rocket engines to launch military satellites.

Moscow took the action, which also included suspending the operation of GPS satellite navigation system sites on its territory from June, in response to Washington's plans to deny export licences for hi-tech items that could help the Russian military.

"We are very concerned about continuing to develop hi-tech projects with such an unreliable partner as the United States, which politicises everything," Rogozin told a news conference.

Washington wants to keep the international space station in use until at least 2024.

Russia's threat to part ways on a project which was supposed to end the space race underlines how far relations between the former cold war rivals have deteriorated since Russia annexed Crimea in March.

Since the end of the US space shuttle project, Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been the only way astronauts can get to the space station, whose crews include both Americans and Russians.

At a time when Moscow is struggling to modernise its space programme, Rogozin said US plans to deny export licences for some hi-tech items were a blow to Russian industry. "These sanctions are out of place and inappropriate," he said. "We have enough of our own problems."

Rogozin said Moscow was planning strategic changes in its space industry after 2020 and aimed to use money and intellectual resources that now go to the space station for a project "with more prospects".

He also suggested Russia could use the station without the US. "The Russian segment can exist independently from the American one. The US one cannot," he said.

Nasa is working with companies to develop space taxis with the goal of restoring US transport to the station by 2017, and in the meantime the US pays Russia more than $60m per person to fly its astronauts to the station.

The upheaval in Ukraine, where Washington says Russia is backing separatists and the Kremlin accuses the US of helping protesters to topple a Moscow-friendly president in February, has led to the worst east-west crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In addition to the hi-tech sector sanctions, the US has imposed visa bans and assets freezes on officials and politicians and targeted companies with links to Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. The EU has also imposed sanctions.

The Russian foreign ministry said earlier on Tuesday that the latest EU measures were an "exhausted, trite approach" that would only deepen discord and hamper efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine.