Russian Cosmonauts board the ISS wearing Yellow and Blue: The Colors of Ukraine’s Flag

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A Soyuz rocket carrying three Russian cosmonauts lifted off from Earth on Friday morning towards the International Space Station, emerging from the spacecraft a little more than three hours later wearing yellow flight suits with blue stripes and accents, the colors of the Ukrainian national flag.

On a live video streamed by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the three cosmonauts — Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergey Korsakov — could be seen entering the space station one by one, floating in zero-gravity, and embracing the seven astronauts who were already in orbit at the time of their arrival. Their brilliant yellow uniforms are also adorned with two blue, white, and red — the colors of the Russian flag — patches, which are sewn onto the arm and breast of each soldier.

Callers, including family members who wished them well on their journey, spoke with the three astronauts over the phone immediately after their arrival at the International Space Station. When a caller questioned about the squad’s uniform choices, Artemyev said that each team is allowed to pick its own colors from a stock supply of uniforms and other equipment available for purchase.

The fact that “we had a lot of yellow material” was not lost on Artemyev, who noted that “we had to use it.” “That is why we were required to wear yellow,” the narrator explains.

According to Russia’s space force, the color was not chosen to be reminiscent of the Ukrainian national flag. They were given clothes that were supposed to match the colors of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, where they were studying, according to the article.

“Sometimes yellow is just yellow,” said the Russian space force, Roscosmos, in a Telegram message.

There has been some discussion on social media about whether the three Russians’ clothing choices were a deliberate reference to the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine. Over the past three weeks, the Russian military has sent an avalanche of artillery, missiles, and explosives into the country. As part of his explanation for the strike, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was launched in order to “de-Nazify” Ukraine, a claim that has prompted widespread criticism.

In a tweet sent on Friday in both Russian and English, former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who served as commander of three space station missions, said the three Russian cosmonauts had landed in “Ukrainian yellow!” Terry Virts, a fellow astronaut, expressed his delight in a tweet, writing, “Wow. Wow, simply WOW. “Way to go,” says everyone.

Space fans and watchers were particularly interested in knowing whether the suits were intended to assist Ukraine since Russian authorities have been cracking down on antiwar sentiment since late February, according to space enthusiasts and observers Independence-seeking media outlets have been shut down, social media platforms have been barred, and activists who dared to speak out have been punished by the Russian government.

In response, people in Russia have had limited access to information about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the neighboring Ukraine as a consequence of this. Pro-Russian invasion supporters have begun their own pro-war efforts, which include using the letter “Z” to signify their support for the invasion.

In the midst of rising tensions between the United States and Russia, the countries’ space alliance is under pressure to complete the trip to the International Space Station. Russia’s space agency Roscosmos issued a warning earlier this month, stating that it would no longer provide rocket engines built in Russia, which are used on rockets that deliver supplies to the International Space Station. NASA officials have categorically disputed the notion that the partnership is on the verge of disintegrating.

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