On Thursday, NASA issued an announcement strongly condemning the actions of three Russian cosmonauts aboard the Worldwide Area Station, who recently posed with flags considered anti-Ukraine propaganda. In footage posted by Russia’s state area company Roscosmos, the cosmonauts are seen holding flags of the Luhansk Individuals’s Republic and the Donetsk Individuals’s Republic — two Russian-backed separatist areas in jap Ukraine.
“NASA strongly rebukes Russia utilizing the Worldwide Area Station for political functions to help its warfare in opposition to Ukraine, which is basically inconsistent with the station’s main perform among the many 15 worldwide taking part international locations to advance science and develop expertise for peaceable functions,” NASA press secretary Jackie McGuinness emailed in an announcement.
It’s a uncommon rebuke for NASA in opposition to Russia, which is the area company’s main accomplice on the Worldwide Area Station. Regardless of ongoing rigidity between the US and Russia over the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, NASA and Roscosmos have continued to work together to maintain continuous operations on board the ISS, which is constantly staffed by each American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts. The connection has survived all through the warfare, at the same time as the top of Roscosmos has made open threats of potentially pulling out of the ISS partnership, and Russia joked about potentially stranding an American astronaut in area. That is the primary time that NASA has overtly denounced the actions of Russia and its accomplice, Roscosmos, in area amid the Ukraine invasion.
Roscosmos posted the photos on July 4th to the company’s Telegram channel. The pictures present the three cosmonauts at present on board the station. Within the pictures, Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov maintain the 2 flags of the Luhansk Individuals’s Republic and the Donetsk Individuals’s Republic. “Liberation Day of the Luhansk Individuals’s Republic!” the caption of the submit reads, in response to Google Translate. “We rejoice each on Earth and in area.” The submit got here after the July 3rd capture of the city of Lysychansk, the final main metropolis held by Ukraine in Luhansk. The Luhansk Individuals’s Republic and the Donetsk Individuals’s Republic are each Russian-backed separatist states in Ukraine.
Earlier than this blatant political assertion from cosmonauts, there was hypothesis that the identical Russian crew made an announcement once they first arrived on the ISS in March. The trio arrived carrying vibrant yellow jumpsuits with blue colours, which many interpreted as a present of help for Ukraine, whose flag comprises vibrant yellow and blue. Nonetheless, Roscosmos denied that the jumpsuits were a political statement, claiming that they represented the colours of the college all three cosmonauts attended.
Even with all the turmoil between the US and Russia, NASA officers have stood agency that the US area company and Roscosmos relationship stays sturdy. “Regardless of all of that, up in area, we will have a cooperation with our Russian pals, our colleagues. The skilled relationship between astronauts and cosmonauts, it hasn’t missed a beat,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson told the Associated Press in March. “That is the cooperation we’ve got happening within the civilian area program.”
In actual fact, NASA has mentioned that Russia is still considering extending its partnership on the ISS, and each NASA and Roscosmos have continued to work towards an upcoming crew swap this September, when a Russian cosmonaut will trip on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the ISS whereas an American astronaut will fly on a Russian Soyuz capsule.