Last month, when three Russian cosmonauts created controversy when they docked onto the international Space Station (ISS) wearing bright yellow space suits resembling the colours of the Ukrainian flag. The three cosmonauts, Denis Matveyev, Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Korsakov, appeared to be protesting against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine less than a month before.
However, these cosmonauts were actually all graduates of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, which has yellow and blue in its emblem, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei confirmed.
Mr Vande Hei is an American astronaut who spent a record-breaking 355 days in space and returned to eath with two cosmonauts on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
In a press conference, he said that the cosmonauts were surprised by the controversy and were caught off guard.
He said: “All three of them happened to be associated with the same university, and I think they were kind of blindsided by it.”
Mr Vande Hei also added that he would discuss the war in Ukraine with his fellow Russian crewmates.
He said: “They weren’t very long discussions, but I did ask them how they were feeling and sometimes asked pointed questions, but our focus was on our mission together.”
When the controversy first broke out, Russia was scrambling to give explanations as to why the cosmonauts were wearing outfits resembling Ukraine.
But Russia rejects that this has any connection to the Ukrainian flag, despite those being the colours that it consists of.
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