May 20, 2022

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Russian cosmonauts arrive at the International Space Station in the colors of the Ukrainian flag

Russian cosmonauts arrive at the International Space Station in the colors of the Ukrainian flag

Shortly after their arrival at the International Space Station, the trio spoke to callers by phone, including family members who wished them a successful mission. When the caller asked him about his choice of clothing, Artemyev replied that each crew was allowed to choose their own colors from the stock of equipment.

“We already had a lot of yellow material, so we had to use it,” Artemyev explained. “That’s why we had to wear yellow.”

The Russian space force also denied that the color was supposed to reflect the Ukrainian flag. She said the design of the uniform reflects the colors of the Bauman State Technical University in Moscow, where the cosmonauts studied.

The military decision of the three Russians sparked discussions on social media about whether it was a deliberate reference to the war in Ukraine, where Russian forces have launched torrents of artillery fire, rockets and bombs over the past three weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin He arguably tried to justify the attack By claiming that it was launched for the “de-Nazification” of Ukraine.

Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who commanded three missions aboard the International Space Station, chirp On Friday, in Russian and English, the three Russian cosmonauts arrived in the “Ukrainian Yellow!” Fellow astronaut Terry Virts was similarly excited, Twitter“Awesome. Just awesome. I’m perfecting it.”

Enthusiasts and space watchers have been particularly keen to know if the allowances are intended to support Ukraine, because Russian authorities have cracked down on anti-war sentiment since late February. The Kremlin has shut down independent media, banned some social media platforms and punished activists who dare speak out.

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That didn’t leave much room for people in Russia to access stories of the escalating humanitarian crisis in neighboring Ukraine. Those supporting Putin’s invasion also launched their own pro-war campaigns, including using the letter “Z” to indicate their consent.

The trip to the International Space Station comes at a time when escalating tension between the United States and Russia is straining the two countries’ space partnership. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, threatened earlier this month to cut off the supply of Russian-made rocket engines used in the rockets that carry supplies to the space station. But the leadership of NASA reject the idea That cooperation is eroding.

Marisa Iati contributed to this report.