"Where were these actions taken - on Earth or already in orbit?" said Rogizin.
The head of the Russian space agency said that the hunt for the culprit would focus not only on Russian engineers on Earth but also cosmonauts aboard the ISS. He completely ruled out the possibility of the hole being created by a meteorite or space debris.
Although the leak was small enough to be fixed by the crew, if it had not been spotted the astronauts would have run out of air in 18 days.
Photographs of the hole in the Soyuz's upper habitation module that were downlinked by the station crew showed what appeared to be a drilled-out penetration in an interior panel with several nearby gouges like those that would be caused by a drill skipping across a surface before digging in. On Thursday, they traced the leak to the Soyuz and discovered a hole 2 millimeters in diameter in the orbital compartment.
Rogozin had initially said the hole in the side of the ship used to ferry astronauts was most likely caused from outside by a tiny meteorite, but later admitted that had been ruled out.
The only "technicians" in space are astronauts and cosmonauts who build, work in, and service the space station.
After the hole was repaired, the astronauts were cleared to carry on with their mission.
"Now it is essential to [determine] the reason, to learn the name of the one responsible for that", declared Rogozin, "And we will find out, without fail".
Asked about possible sabotage, a NASA spokeswoman referred all questions to the Russian space agency which is overseeing the commission's analysis. "Please contact them for details", two officials responded by email.
Because the issue involves a Russian spacecraft, NASA had no immediate comment.
According to TASS, Rogozin continued by calling for an investigation into the incident.
NASAThe International Space Station's configuration as of August 22, 2018.
Gerst of Germany and astronaut Serena Auñón of USA and cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev from Russian Federation are all due to using the same affected Soyuz vehicle to return to Earth before the end of this year.
While the investigation continues, spaceflight experts and aficionados are entertaining their own guesses.
Amusingly, the first thing that was done to fix the damage was for European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst to plug the hole with his finger.
That might not even have happened on Earth, the Russian space chief argued. "All my money is on some ground tech messing up and trying to cover up his/her mistake". The leaking one had only arrived in June.