June 25, 2022

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Cosmonaut says the war in Ukraine can be seen from space

A German cosmonaut who has just returned to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) talks about his impressions of the war in Ukraine from space.

While in orbit, ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, 52, said he could see the impact of missiles in Kyiv and clouds of smoke over bombed cities.

“When you’re in space, you feel very far at first,” he told Germany’s ARD Morgenmagazine Program by translation. “At the beginning of the war, the whole country was darkened by night.”

“Actually, people only recognized how,” he said. Then you might also see the effects in the early days of the war. In Kyiv, you may see lightning strikes at night” as well as “missiles striking”.

Maurer, a materials scientist, became the 12th German astronaut in space and joined three colleagues as they traveled to the International Space Station on November 11, 2021, on a mission called “Cosmic Kiss.”

During 177 days in orbit, it has conducted dozens of human health and materials science experiments. He came back 177 days later, and crashed on the Crew Dragon Resistance In the Gulf of Mexico on May 6.

He said the war was “visible to the naked eye from space” and that sometimes “events can be clearly identified” as if he were seeing “huge clouds of smoke over cities like Mariupol”.

Russian forces bombed the southern port city relentlessly. The siege ended last week after about 2,500 Ukrainian fighters fled the Azovstal steel plant and took up positions.

Ukrainian authorities said, on Wednesday, that workers who were digging among the ruins of an apartment building in the city found 200 bodies in the basement, according to the Associated Press.

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Heavy fighting continues in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine as Russian forces attempt to seize the region. Russian forces took control of the industrial city of Svetlodarsk, which has a thermal power plant, and intensified their efforts to capture Severodonetsk and other cities.

Despite international condemnation of the Moscow war, there is still cooperation aboard the International Space Station even though politics on Earth has reached space. On May 9, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, commander of the International Space Station in Research Expedition 67, wished “success” to Russian military personnel in a statement marking the country’s Victory Day.

Maurer said his view of things from above ground during the war made him feel “much closer” to the war in Ukraine than he would have felt had he stayed in Germany.

“Our Earth is actually just a small planet compared to what’s left there,” he said. He said, “War seen from above is a hundred times more irrational than Earth. Why don’t we humans stay together?”

German astronaut Matthias Maurer, who has just returned from a mission aboard the International Space Station, said he could see the consequences of the war in Ukraine from space. Pictured, Maurer addresses a press conference in Berlin on September 10, 2021 prior to his mission to the International Space Station, titled “Cosmic Kiss.”
Paul Zinkin / Getty Images