The Russian space agency's deputy head Vitaly Davydov’s comments forced Russia’s space agency to back off after an international outcry on Thursday.

Davydov on Wednesday said that Russia planned to sink the International Space Station into the Pacific Ocean in 2020.

"The partners have agreed to continue the ISS operation until 2020. The partners will also approve an extended period of the ISS," the agency's Press Secretary Anna Vedishcheva told Russian news agency Interfax-AVN on Thursday.

In an effort to keep outer space clean and junk-free, Russia and its partners had planned to sink the International Space Station (ISS) in the ocean after its scheduled retirement in 2020, Russian Space Agency Roscosmos said in a statement on Wednesday.

During a meet of the international science agencies in 2010, most of them agreed on an extended period of operation, but Vedischeva stressed the space base’s fate: a watery grave at the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

"The only way to dispose of the station is to sink it," Vedishcheva said.

The International Space Station was placed in Earth’s lower orbit in 1998 and is a joint project of space agencies from the United States, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan.

Space junk can be disastrous for spacecrafts and satellites, according to astronauts. The Mir space station was also sunk by Russia into the Pacific Ocean in 2001 when its 15-year life cycle ended.

Russia strives to lead in space exploration after NASA’s 30-year space shuttle mission ended on July 21 with successful landing of the final space shuttle, Atlantis.