Reports from the International Space Station (ISS) indicate that Russia has effectively annexed several modules of the orbiting laboratory, allegedly at the invitation of a Russian-speaking scientist aboard.
President Vladimir Putin said his forces moved in “peacefully and are committed to protecting the interests of pro-Russian persons on the ISS” — which currently comprises cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, who felt threatened by some laboratory rodents run amok.
Mr. Tyurin’s American and Japanese counterparts are reportedly “delighted” by the move, according to Izvestia, the Russian newspaper, quoting sources in the Kremlin.
At the White House, President Obama is said to be in phone contact with NASA, President Putin and U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, from a nearby golf resort where his family is taking a much-needed mid-week vacation. The U.S. president called on his Russian counterpart to observe international and galactic law.
“If Vladimir Putin continues to occupy large sections of the ISS,” said Mr. Obama, “he needs to know that the United States is fully behind the future actions of the United Nations, and that no options are off the table, except military force and economic sanctions.”
Mr. Obama has dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to the ISS, where he’ll arrive this weekend aboard a Falcon 9 cargo launch, after several hours of grueling training with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.
Secretary Kerry will carry a red magic marker.
By Scott Ott.