Satellite images reveal the horrors of war (UPD)

 Satellite images reveal the horrors of war (UPD)

This weekend, the world saw horrific footage of cities just outside Kyiv, abandoned earlier by Russian troops. Much of this footage was taken by journalists and representatives of the Ukrainian authorities.

Footage from the city of Bucha shocked the world. There is a lot of work to be done to gather evidence and bring the perpetrators to justice. Yesterday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his video message, announced the creation of a special procedure to investigate war crimes on the territory of Ukraine:

“I approved a decision to create a special mechanism of justice in Ukraine for the investigation and judicial examination of every crime of the occupiers on the territory of our state. The essence of this mechanism is the joint work of national and international experts: investigators, prosecutors, and judges…”

One of the sources of evidence and investigation of what happened is satellite images, as we reported a few weeks ago.

Maxar Technologies shared satellite imagery from the city of Bucha on March 31, Reuters reported.

Bucha, Ukraine
The gravesite has an approximately 45-foot long trench in the southwestern section of the area near the Church in Bucha, Ukraine. / Image credit: Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

According to Reuters, a 45-foot trench near the church can be seen in the satellite image. In the same place, the bodies of residents of the city of Bucha were found.

First signs of excavation of a mass grave on the grounds of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints, in Bucha, Ukraine / Image credit: Maxar Technologies / Handout via REUTERS

The first signs of excavations of the mass grave, according to Maxar Technologies, were discovered on 10 March this year.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that relevant services were already working in the city of Bucha to bring the city back to life.

Satellite images from the very beginning of the invasion of Russian troops into the territory of Ukraine help to follow the course of hostilities, monitor the destruction of cities, and collect evidence of war crimes.

At we will keep monitoring the use of satellite data and images in support of the people of Ukraine during the war. All articles on this topic are available on a dedicated webpage.

UPDATED: Debunking Russian Claims from Space

On April, 3 The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation published a message on its telegram channel in which the department refutes accusations from Ukraine in what happened:

“All the photographs and video materials published by the Kiev regime, allegedly testifying to some kind of “crimes” by Russian military personnel in the city of Bucha, Kiev region, are another provocation …

…We would like to emphasize that all Russian units completely left Bucha on March 30, the day after the face-to-face round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey.

… Therefore, it is not surprising that all the so-called “evidence of crimes” in Bucha appeared only on the 4th day, when Security Service of Ukraine officers and representatives of Ukrainian television arrived in the city. ”

The Russian side claims that the bodies of the killed citizens appeared on the streets of Bucha after the Russian troops left the city, on March 30th.

The day after, on April 4, the New York Times published an article analysing satellite images from Maxar Technologies.

NY Times: A dead body near abandoned cars on Yablonska Street in Bucha, Ukraine, on Apr. 2. The body had been on the street since Mar. 21, satellite imagery shows. 
Image credits: Kievskiy Dvizh via Instagram / Maxar Technologies / NY Times

The Visual Investigations team at The New York Times conducted a before-and-after analysis of available satellite imagery. The analysis suggests that the bodies, the footage of which appeared in the first days of April, had been in the same place for at least several weeks, when the city of Bucha was under the control of the Russian military.

In turn, the Russian state corporation Roscosmos transmitted satellite images of the areas where, as it is called in Russia, a “special military operation” is being carried out by the military. This was announced by the CEO of the state corporation Dmitry Rogozin, reports

“All data from the areas of the special military operation are transmitted in real time to our military. And no one else,” Rogozin wrote on his Telegram channel in response to a request to show up-to-date images of the destroyed aircraft parking lot or airfields.

The request came in response to Rogozin’s previous post on the Telegram channel, in which he peculiarly congratulated NATO on its 73rd anniversary. Rogozin showed a satellite image of the headquarters of the alliance in Brussels and signed “Guys, we are watching you. Keep in mind.”

“Guys [NATO], we are watching you. Keep in mind.”, says Mr.Rogozin / Image credit: Rogozin’s Telegram channel

At, we closely monitor the situation and continue to inform you about updates in the application of satellite data technologies during the war in Ukraine.

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Featured Image: A woman walks amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. / Image credit: AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

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