American astronaut Scott Kelly, who made four space flights, including on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, said he was refusing the Russian state award “For Merit in Space Exploration” in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Twitter, he turned to former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who presented him with an award in 2011, asking him to give the medal to “a Russian mother whose son died in this unjust war.” “I will mail the medal to the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC,” Kelly wrote.
The astronaut, who in 2015-2016 became the first American to spend almost a year in a row (340 days) in orbit aboard the International Space Station, along with Russian cosmonauts, actively comments on the war in Ukraine on Twitter, including in Russian. He condemns the Russian invasion and supports Ukraine. A few days ago, Kelly entered into a dispute with the head of Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin. To Rogozin’s note that the Russian rocket would “look better” without some flags, Kelly replied: “Dimon, without these flags and the foreign exchange they bring in, your space program won’t be worth a damn. Maybe you can get yourself a job in McDonald’s, if McDonald’s still exists in Russia. Rogozin responded with insults.
McDonald’s announced the suspension of operations in Russia on March 8.