MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. restrictions on high-tech exports to Russia under its latest Ukraine-related sanctions will be a blow to Russian companies in the sector, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday.
The White House said on Monday the United States would deny export licenses for any high-technology items that could contribute to Russian military capabilities and revoke existing licenses.
"The seriousness of these measures is absolutely obvious for us," Ryabkov told gazeta.ru in an online interview.
Ryabkov highlighted high-tech cooperation, including launches of satellites, either American-made or containing U.S. components.
"All this hits at our high-tech enterprises and industries," he said.
Washington, locked in a Cold War-style conflict with Russia over Ukraine, and Moscow are still cooperating on space exploration. Russian rockets are the only way astronauts around the world can get to the International Space Station since NASA ended shuttle flights in 2012.
While NASA was banned earlier this month from contacting the Russian government, operation of the space station, a $100 billion research project owned by 15 countries, is exempt.
But Sergei Oznobishchev, director at the Institute for Strategic Assessments think-tank in Moscow, said many other joint space exploration projects would suffer immediately.
"This is a very sensitive issue since our defense industry was completely unprepared for such developments," he said. "Both sides will suffer but Russia will lose out more in terms of technology transfer."
"For us, this cooperation was largely a technology school," he added.
Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska and Megan Davies; Editing by Nigel Stephenson and Alison Williams