Russian astronauts light up the ISS by wearing Ukraine colours


The spacemen flew to the international space station (ISS)from Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz MS21 spacecraft. Footage showed the three men wearing bright yellow suits when they reached the space station. The suits had bright blue features, with the outfits sporting the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Earlier footage of the astronauts taken as their capsule prepared to dock showed them wearing blue flight suits, the Daily Mail reported.

It has raised speculation over whether their change of uniform was intended to send a message about the conflict in Ukraine.

Oleg Artmyev, the mission commander, was asked about the suits when the three astronauts were able to speak to their families from the space station.

He said that every crew chooses its own flight suits, meaning they are not the same.

He said the choice of yellow was because the team had a lot of yellow material they had to use.

Mr Artmyev said: “It became our turn to pick a colour. But in fact, we had accumulated a lot of yellow material so we needed to use it. So that’s why we had to wear yellow.”

He did not indicate whether the outfits were intended to send a message about the conflict in Ukraine, now in its fourth week.

Many people have worn the colours of the Ukrainian flag since Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24 to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The team were the first new arrivals at the ISS since the Russian invasion of Ukraine over three weeks ago.

Mr Artmyev led the mission alongside Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov.

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The crew blasted off from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan at 8.55pm on Friday.

They joined two other Russians, four Americans and a German at the station.

The war in Ukraine has also sparked tension in space, with many spacecraft launches cancelled and contracts between countries cancelled since the invasion.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s space energy Roscosmos, warned last week that the US would have to use “broomsticks” to fly into space after Russia said it would stop supplying rocket engines to companies in the US.

There are fears that Russia is prepared to jeopardise space exploration over the mounting geopolitical tensions.

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Nasa administrator Bill Nelson played down Mr Rogozin’s comments.

He said: “That’s just Dmitry Rogozin. He spouts off every now and then. But at the end of the day, he’s worked with us.

“The other people that work in the Russian civilian space program, they’re professional. They don’t miss a beat with us, American astronauts and American mission control. Despite all of that, up in space, we can have a cooperation with our Russian friends, our colleagues.”

US astronaut Mark Vande Hei is due to leave the space station along with two of the Russian cosmonauts on March 30.

Another three Nasa astronauts are set to blast off for the station in April, along with another Italian astronaut.


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