Russia’s space agency appears to have threatened the International Space Station (ISS) amid calls for an end to sanctions.

Roscosmos claims to have sent a letter to Nasa and other international partners with "a demand to lift illegal sanctions".

In a tweet on Saturday, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, described sending "written appeals" to space agencies for the US, Canada and Europe.

He illustrated the appeal with a map showing the flight path of the ISS — and a potential fall zone that straddles much of the world but barely touches Russia.

Four Nasa astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one European astronaut are currently on the space station.

Russia and the International Space Station

It isn't the first time that Roscosmos has used the ISS as a bargaining chip against further sanctions.

Mr Rogozin previously suggested any sanctions against the Russian space programme could lead the ISS to fall into the USA or Europe.

In response to Joe Biden's suggestion of US sanctions against Russia in late February, the Roscosmos head said Europe and the US might not be able to safely operate the ISS or prevent it from crashing into the ground. 

Space agencies such as the US still rely on Russian rockets when it comes to launching satellites and taking astronauts to the ISS.

Writing on Twitter at the time, Mr Rogozin said: “If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe?”