- Russian cosmonauts sparked speculation after they donned yellow and blue spacesuits last month.
- They later said they wore those colors to represent their university, not to symbolize the Ukrainian flag.
- On Tuesday, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hee said they were “shocked” by the attention they had received.
Russian cosmonauts who wore yellow and blue – the colors of the Ukrainian flag – to the International Space Station were shocked by speculation that they were protesting against war, NASA astronaut Mark Vande He said Tuesday.
In his first press conference since his return, Vande Hei described what life was like with his fellow Russians on the International Space Station as the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.
He specifically addressed the speculation surrounding Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov. After they were photographed wearing yellow and blue spacesuits upon their arrival at the International Space Station on March 18.
Yellow and blue are the colors of the Ukrainian flag, which many have used to show support for the nation as it defends itself from Russia.
“The three just happened to be related to the same university, and I think they were kind of surprised by it,” Vande Hee said of his fellow Russian crew. CNN reported.
Artemyev, Matveyev and Korsakov were graduates of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Which has blue and gold emblem of arms.
Vande Hey said the Russians “have no idea that people will see that it is about Ukraine,” The Washington Post reported.
Following the publication of photos of Artemyev, Matveev, and Korsakov wearing blue and yellow, several former NASA astronauts, including Scott Kelly And the Terry VirtsOn social media, the Russians show their support for Ukraine.
But Artemyev shut down the speculation on the Russian Space Agency’s Telegram channel several days later, saying: “There is no need to look for any hidden signs or symbols in our military Xena.” The Associated Press reported.
“Color is just a colour. It is not connected in any way to Ukraine. Otherwise, we will have to recognize its rights to the yellow sun in the blue sky,” he said. “These days, even though we are in space, we are with our president and our people!”
During the press conference, Vande Hei declined to comment on how his Russian crew members felt about the invasion of Ukraine.
“These are the things that I’d rather have them get firsthand than give them their opinion of it,” he said. He added that their discussions about the war were “very brief” because their primary focus “was on our mission together.”
Vande He’s interview came several days after the head of the Russian Space Agency, Dmitry Rogozin, announced that Russia was suspending its cooperation on the International Space Station and its partnership with NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. The United States, the European Union, and Canada imposed sanctions on Russia over the invasion.
But Vande Hei said the camaraderie in space has remained the same.
“They have been, are, and will continue to be, dear friends of mine,” he told CNN of his fellow Russians. “We supported each other in everything. I had no qualms about being able to continue working with them.”
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