On Monday, Russia’s state-owned air travel agency, Roscosmos, posted pictures on its official Telegram channel showing three cosmonauts with three colored flags in Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic.
Photographs recently taken at the International Space Station show smiling cosmonauts with Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergey Korsakov standing with flags.
“This is the long-awaited day that the residents of the affected areas of Luhansk region have been waiting for eight years,” the Roscosmos message said. “We are confident that July 3, 2022, will go down forever in the history of the republic.”
Photographs and postings on social media represent the most explicit use of the International Space Station by the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Space Agency for Russian propaganda since the Ukrainian invasion.
Luhansk and Donetsk are two separate “different regions” in the eastern region of Ukraine known as the Donbas. Ukraine and Russia have been fighting in the two areas since 2014, as Russia pushed for separatists in the Ukrainian territory. The United Nations does not recognize these two “republics,” and Ukraine has called them “temporary settlements.” The fighting has escalated since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. This past weekend, Russian forces claimed to have established control of the entire Luhansk region.
NASA and Roscosmos, as well as other spacecraft, have been cooperating with the International Space Station since the start of the attack. Some U.S. officials have suggested that NASA should consider severing ties with Russia in space because of the atrocities in Ukraine. However, the director of the space agency defended cooperation on the basis that the channel goes beyond geopolitical conflicts on EarthEarth. NASA wants to continue flying at the station, as breaking the U.S. component on the Russian side could be difficult and potentially detrimental to the operation of the orbital spacecraft.
In an interview published Monday in the German book Der Spiegel, NASA Commander Bill Nelson repeated this.
“During the Cold War, when the Soviet Union and the United States were deadly enemies and their nuclear weapons could be used at any time, U.S. and Soviet spacecraft met in space in 1975,” said Nelson. “Peace cooperation continued even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our spacecraft arrived at the Russian space station Mir. Then we decided to build an International Space Station together. Both countries needed to work, the Russians to move forward, the Americans. and the special relationship between space and space to keep this channel alive. “
However, the offensive actions this weekend by the Roscosmos, and its cosmonauts celebrating the so-called liberation of the Ukrainian region, are bringing bloodshed to Earth’sEarth’s atmosphere. To some observers, such as the former NASA star Terry Virts, Russia’s use of a space shuttle for propaganda is unacceptable.
“I am incredibly disappointed to see the cosmonauts and the Roscosmos use the International Space Station as a platform to promote their illegal and immoral warfare, in which civilians are killed every day,” said Virts, who flew away from the Russians and commanded the space station. in 2015. “The space station should be a symbol of peace and cooperation.”
Virts said NASA was trying very hard to look the other way regarding Russian actions, especially Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, who made many jingoistic statements about the war. But in this case, he said, the agency could not afford to pay.