The International Space Station (ISS) and its crew have so far prevented the situation in Ukraine from interfering with their work and relationships.
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Nevertheless, on Monday July 4, 2022, just over four months from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, new photographs taken aboard the space station were shared on Telegram by Roscosmos, the Russian space company. Pictured are cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov, holding the flags of the Lugansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic.
“It is a long-awaited day for which residents of the occupied areas of the Luhansk region have been waiting for eight years. We are convinced that July 3, 2022 will remain forever etched in the history of the Republic.“, we read in the post of the Roscosmos Telegram.
Lugansk and Donetsk are cities in Ukraine, respectively in Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast, and both are in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. However, pro-Russian separatists in the regions broke away from Ukraine to form the respective people’s republics in April 2014, creating quasi-states not recognized by the United Nations, which have been the scene of relentless fighting ever since, in especially since the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
“I am incredibly disappointed to see cosmonauts and Roscosmos using the International Space Station as a platform to promote their illegal and immoral war, where civilians are being killed every day. The space station is meant to be a symbol of peace and cooperation“said former NASA astronaut Terry Virts, who flew alongside Russians and commanded the space station in 2015.