Russian astronauts use space station to promote anti-Ukraine propaganda

Russian astronauts use space station to promote anti-Ukraine propaganda
Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergey Korsakov pose with a flag of the Luhansk People's Republic on the International Space Station.
Enlarge / Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergey Korsakov pose with a flag of the Luhansk People’s Republic on the Global House Station.

The Russian condition house corporation dependable for spaceflight pursuits, Roscosmos, on Monday posted photographs to its formal Telegram channel showing 3 cosmonauts with the tri-shade flags of the Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic.

The shots had been taken just lately on board the Global House Station and present smiling cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergey Korsakov posing with the flags.

“This is a lengthy-awaited day that inhabitants of the occupied parts of the Luhansk location have been waiting around for eight several years,” the Roscosmos information stated. “We are self-confident that July 3, 2022, will eternally go down in the heritage of the republic.”

The illustrations or photos and social media posting signify the most blatant use of the International Place Station—which is operated by the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Place Agency—for Russian propaganda functions because the invasion of Ukraine.

Luhansk and Donetsk are two breakaway “quasi-states” in the eastern region of Ukraine acknowledged as the Donbas. Ukraine and Russia have battled in excess of the two areas due to the fact 2014, as Russia has agitated separatists in the Ukrainian territory. The United Nations does not understand the two “republics,” and Ukraine has designated them as “briefly occupied territories.” Fighting has heated up considering that the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This past weekend, Russian forces claimed to have established handle more than the entire Luhansk region.

A skilled romance

NASA and Roscosmos, as effectively as other house businesses, have continued cooperating on the International Room Station given that the invasion began. Some US officers have recommended that NASA should consider breaking ties with Russia in space because of to the atrocities in Ukraine. Nevertheless, the place agency’s administrator has defended the partnership on the basis that the station flies higher than geopolitical tensions on Earth. NASA also wants to continue to keep traveling the station, as breaking the US phase from the Russian section would be hard and probably lethal to the operation of the orbital facility.

In an job interview posted Monday in the German publication Der Spiegel, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson reiterated this stance.

“In the midst of the Chilly War, when the Soviet Union and the United States were mortal enemies and their nuclear weapons could be made use of at any time, a US and a Soviet spacecraft met in place in 1975,” Nelson reported. “Tranquil cooperation ongoing even just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our house shuttle docked with the Russian house station Mir. And then we decided to build the Worldwide Room Station with each other. Each countries are required for operations, the Russians for propulsion, the People in america for power. We will carry on to have a pretty expert marriage concerning cosmonauts and astronauts to continue to keep this station alive.”

Nevertheless, the provocative actions this weekend by Roscosmos, with its cosmonauts celebrating the so-referred to as liberation of Ukrainian territory, provide the bloody conflict on Earth into room. To some observers, these as former NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Russia’s use of the space station for propaganda needs is unacceptable.

“I am very unhappy to see cosmonauts and Roscosmos using the Global House Station as a platform to boost their unlawful and immoral war, in which civilians are staying killed every working day,” stated Virts, who flew facet by aspect with Russians and commanded the room station in 2015. “The space station is supposed to be a symbol of peace and cooperation.”

Virts claimed NASA has mainly been hoping to glance the other way when it arrives to Russian steps, most notably when it will come to Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, who has built several jingoistic statements about the war. But in this scenario, he explained, the agency truly cannot pay for to.

Seat swap

NASA’s cooperation with Russia might occur into larger community concentration in a pair of months. At present, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio is scheduled to fly on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the station in September. All over the similar time, Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina is thanks to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon car to the station as aspect of the seat swap. The arrangement has not been formally agreed to by the US and Russian governments.

In his German interview, Nelson defended the swap, declaring, “It helps make a great deal of feeling for us. You want both equally Russians and Americans to function the house station. What comes about if a little something is improper with one of our spacecraft? We require the other car or truck as a backup. And that’s why we will carry on to have crew exchanges.”

This sort of an argument may possibly before long ring hollow, having said that. Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft may perhaps make its initially crewed exam flight prior to the end of this calendar year, and if it is profitable NASA will have two US spacecraft capable of reaching the station.

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