Coincidence or subliminal message? Astronauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergey Korsakov, from the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) this morning wearing yellow suits with blue stripes, the same colors of the flag of Ukraine, which many have wanted to interpret it as a message against the war, but that the astronauts have not confirmed.
The cosmonauts successfully lifted off from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan in their Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft on Friday. So they did it with the traditional blue suits. Just over three hours later, the Soyuz MS-21 crew safely docked at the ISS station, joining two Russians, four Americans, and one German at the orbiting outpost.
Asked about the striking colors, Artemyev did not confirm that they wanted to send a message and assured instead that the choice was casual. “It became our turn to pick a color. But we had accumulated a lot of yellow material, so we needed to use it. That’s why we had to wear yellow, ”he said, according to the Associated Press.
The Russian space agency has also responded to comments about its astronauts’ suits, calling the comments “absurd”. “Sometimes yellow is just yellow,” the Roscosmos press service said on its Telegram channel.
“The flight suits of the new crew are made in the colors of the emblem of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, from which the three cosmonauts graduated… Seeing the Ukrainian flag everywhere and on everything is crazy”.
Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin was more scathing, saying on his personal Telegram channel that Russian cosmonauts had no sympathy for Ukrainian nationalists.
Still, many have taken to the colors as a statement by cosmonauts in support of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country. Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted about the spacesuits, calling the color “Ukrainian yellow.”