Donetsk, Dec 25 - DAN. The soil taken at the legendary Saur Mogila memorial complex made a round trip to the International Space Station, said a Russia-based expert in Soviet manned flights history Alexander Glushko, a project initiator.

“It is the first soil in the world taken at the foot of the memorial complex that was taken to outer space. This action is unique,” Glushko told the Donetsk News Agency adding that the project involved seven people from the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russia.

The organizers’ objective is to draw the international community’s attention to the Donbass conflict and underscore the importance of preserving the region’s cultural and historical heritage, he said.

The Saur Mogila soil was put in capsules and delivered to the ISS in March 2018. Part of it was dispersed in space in symbolic reunion of the dead Saur Mogila defenders with eternity. The rest of the soil returned to Earth in November, the historian said.

The capsules received special certificates; one was handed over to the Yu.Gagarin Cosnonautics Museum in the Star City space training facility in the Moscow region, and another will be donated to the Donetsk Local History Museum.

The Saur Mogila monument near Shakhtyorsk was unveiled in 1967 to commorate more than 23,000 Soviet soliders and officers killed in fighting against Nazi troops in the area in 1943. The summer 2014 fighting between DPR militia and Ukrainian nationalists left the memorial complex severely damaged and collapsed its key element, the bronze solider.*jk