Three Russian cosmonauts returned to the steppes of Kazakhstan on Thursday after completing a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Russian space agency Roscosmos said the three cosmonauts, Oleg Artemiev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, landed on time 148 kilometers southeast of the city of Zezhkazgan.

They completed a series of experiments and five spacewalks on the space station during the 195-day mission, Roscosmos reported.

The three astronauts began their mission last March, just weeks after Moscow launched a special military operation in Ukraine.

In July, Roscosmos posted a photo of three people on the ISS holding the flags of the Kremlin-backed separatist Luhansk and Donetsk regions in support of Moscow’s troops in eastern Ukraine.

President Putin recently announced the annexation of four territories captured from Ukraine with Russia. It was at such a moment that the arrival of the astronauts on earth was reported.

Last week, NASA’s Frank Rubio and Russia’s Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitry Petlin flew to the ISS from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in a Roscosmos-operated spacecraft.

Meanwhile, Russia’s only active female astronaut Anna Kikina is expected to travel to the orbital station in early October aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

The ISS is a cooperation agreement between the United States, Canada, Japan, the European Space Agency and Russia. The agreement is divided into two sections; US Orbital Segment and Russian Orbital Segment.

(September 29)