Russia denies cosmonauts wore yellow jumpsuits in protest of Ukraine invasion

On Friday, cosmonauts Denis Matveyev, Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Korsakov arrived at the International Space Station wearing bright yellow and blue jumpsuits. They were the first Russian astronauts to travel to the ISS since the war in Ukraine began, and many saw their choice of uniform as a statement against their country’s invasion of its neighbor.

One day later, per, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency dismissed those suggestions. “Sometimes yellow is just yellow,” it said in a Telegram post spotted by the outlet. Roscosmos went on to claim the three cosmonauts were wearing the colors of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, their shared alma mater. And for what it’s worth, the school’s crest, like Ukraine’s national flag, features plenty of blue and yellow. 

“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,” said Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos. The space agency also later shared a photo of Artemyev wearing a white jumpsuit with the colors of the Russian displayed prominently across the chest.

The cosmonauts didn’t say too much about their choice of uniform. “It became our turn to pick a color,” said Artemyev when asked about the subject during a subsequent press conference. “We had accumulated a lot of yellow material so we needed to use it. That’s why we had to wear yellow.”

While astronauts from the US and Germany looked happy to see their new crewmates, tensions between the West and Russia threaten the future of multiple joint projects. This week, the European Space Agency said it was suspending its ExoMars mission while looking for a way to move forward without the involvement of Roscosmos.

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