Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been going on for three months, has consequences that are even visible from space. European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, who returned to Earth from the International Space Station last month, said he saw the war from the ISS from an altitude of 400 kilometers. The invasion of the Russian army into the territory of Ukraine began on February 24, which coincided with the middle of his six-month mission.
“At the beginning of the war, the whole of Ukraine was plunged into darkness at night,” the German astronaut said in the Morgenmagazin program of the ARD TV channel on May 25, 2022.
The war has already left its mark across the country, says the astronaut. Now it is difficult to find out the main sights of Ukraine, except Kyiv. The fighting is clearly visible to the naked eye from space. “In the first days of the war, it was possible to see the unfolding fighting. In Kyiv at night you could see flashes when the missiles hit the target,” says Maurer.
Matthias noted that he saw huge clouds of smoke over Mariupol. From the very beginning of the invasion, Russian troops hit Mariupol hard. Now there are only ruins left of the city and they can be seen even from space. Maurer also pointed out that there were visible signs of increased Russian control in the region, such as the evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers from the steel plant, which served as the last stronghold of resistance.
Discussion of the war in Ukraine on the ISS
Maurer evasively answered whether the war in space was discussed with his Russian colleagues aboard the ISS. But he said that all the crew members quickly agreed that “terrible things are happening in Ukraine”.
Another NASA astronaut, Mark Vande Hei, the record holder of stay in orbit among Americans, risked remaining a “prisoner” on the ISS at all, since his return home was threatened as a result of the war. Nevertheless, the astronaut still returned safely to Earth, landing in the Kazakh steppe. The astronaut discussed with the Russians the situation with the war in Ukraine and how saddened he was by these events.
“I don’t want to tell you what the answers of the Russian cosmonauts were about the war in Ukraine,” says Mark Vande Hei.
According to Space
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