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Ukraine’s first and only astronaut denounces move by Kiev to change Cosmonautics Day

April 13, 16:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Ukrainian deputy PM has proposed to move Cosmonautics Day celebrations from April to November
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Leonid Kadenyuk

Leonid Kadenyuk

© NASA

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Major General Leonid Kadenyuk, the first and only astronaut of independent Ukraine, came out against a proposal to move Cosmonautics Day celebrations from April to November in his native country.

This proposal was cooked up by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kirilenko who said Ukraine should mark Cosmonautics Day on November 19, when Kadenyuk made his flight on NASA's Columbia in 1997.

"Of course, I am against this," Kadenyuk told Govorit Moskva radio. "Yuri Gagarin’s flight, the first human space flight, was important not only for the Soviet Union and the planet, but for the Universe… This holiday is a global holiday. It cannot be cancelled or replaced. Gagarin is irreplaceable."

April 12 is celebrated in Russia as Cosmonautics Day and was declared by the UN the International Day of Human Space Flight to mark the beginning of mankind ushering in the space era.

Kirilenko’s proposal has become the last step in the de-communization crusade in Ukraine that followed the 2014 coup.

This wave of political zealotry involves renaming cities, towns, and streets with those not linked to the Soviet period, as well as the removal of all Soviet symbols and monuments.

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