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Russia dismisses reports that cosmonauts' yellow and blue flight suits referred to Ukraine

Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov float aboard the International Space Station after arriving on a Soyuz spacecraft on March 18, 2022. The trio donned bright yellow and blue flight suits as they joined seven other crewmates on the station.
Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov float aboard the International Space Station after arriving on a Soyuz spacecraft on March 18, 2022. The trio donned bright yellow and blue flight suits as they joined seven other crewmates on the station. (Image credit: Roscosmos TV)

Russia's space agency Roscosmos has dismissed reports that three of its cosmonauts wore yellow and blue flight suits on the International Space Station in support of Ukraine. 

The cosmonauts — Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov — wore the brightly colored flight suits, which were yellow with blue patches similar to the colors of the Ukrainian flag, as they boarded the space station on Friday (March 18). With Russia currently in the midst of an brutal war on Ukraine, the cosmonauts' choice of clothing raised questions among the media (including here on Space.com) on whether they were showing support for the Ukrainian people.

On Saturday, Roscosmos officials denied there was any connection to Ukraine and the flight suits, calling the media reports "a funny invention of foreign bloggers and media," in a Telegram post (opens in new tab) translated by Google.

"Sometimes yellow is just yellow," Roscosmos wrote, adding that the flight suits are in the colors of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, where all three cosmonauts studied. "The design of the uniform was agreed upon long before current events." 

Cosmonauts' flight suits are sewn together by the Russian Academy of Sciences about six months before launch, according to a UPI news report (opens in new tab). Artemyev, Roscosmos shared in a second Telegram post (opens in new tab), previously wore a yellow and blue flight suit during a 2014 mission to the International Space Station.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, also scoffed at the media's connection to Ukraine,  writing on Twitter (opens in new tab) that "under no circumstances will we force cosmonaut graduates of Bauman University not to wear the colors of the coat of arms of their alma mater."

Artemyev, Matveev and Korsakov launched to the space station on Friday aboard a Russian Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft that lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The trio docked at the space station a few hours later to begin a six-month mission on the orbiting lab. 

The Soyuz cosmonauts joined seven other crewmembers already on the station, a crew that includes four American astronauts, two other Russian cosmonauts and one European astronaut representing Germany. 

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook and Instagram.

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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.