"Within the framework of the future flight program, the UAE plans a specialized manned mission for which a spacecraft is required. They consider buying a Soyuz spacecraft from us, that is, two seats in it, because according to the Russian legislation, a Soyuz commander must be a Russian citizen. The flight may be possible no earlier than in two years", Krikalev said.
According to Krikalev, if the UAE signs a contract with Roscosmos, an additional Soyuz spacecraft will be manufactured, as it cannot be part of the Russian manned program for delivering Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station.
The flight, which Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin announced last December, was initially scheduled for April 2019, but it was postponed due to the Soyuz MS-10 manned spacecraft's failed launch last October.
In September 2018, two UAE candidates, Hazza Mansouri and Sultan Niyadi, started their training at Russia's Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in the Moscow Region.