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An American and two Russians arrived in the ISS in full offensive in Ukraine

An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts arrived on the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday after taking off from Russia, a trip that represents a rare sign of cooperation between Moscow and Washington in the midst of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.

The Soyuz rocket with the crew on board took off at the scheduled time, 3:54 p.m. HB, tearing in a trail of fire the darkened sky of the Kazakh steppe, on the Russian cosmodrome of Baikonur.

The spacecraft, with American Frank Rubio of NASA and Russians Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitry Peteline of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, docked with the ISS about three hours later, the US space agency said in a statement.

This Russian-American mission comes at a time when relations are at their lowest between Westerners and Russia, which on February 24 launched its troops to attack Ukraine. In a major escalation of the conflict, President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered a partial mobilization of the population while threatening to use nuclear weapons.

Frank Rubio is the first American astronaut to go to the ISS aboard a Russian rocket since the beginning of the entry of troops from Moscow into Ukraine.

Six months at 400km altitude

The crew is to spend six months aboard the orbital laboratory, where they reunited with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemiev, Denis Matveïev and Sergei Korsakov, American astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren and Jessica Watkins, as well as Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

The result of a collaboration between the United States, Canada, Japan, the European Space Agency and Russia, the ISS is divided into two segments: an American and a Russian.

The ISS currently depends on a Russian propulsion system to maintain its orbit, some 400 kilometers above sea level, while the American segment handles electricity and life support systems.