On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, launching a war that spread to space, where satellites provide the Internet and intelligence, and long-standing international relations in space are changing rapidly. The invasion has been sharply criticized by world leaders, including US President Joe Biden. With this invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin “put himself on the wrong side of history,” according to a joint statement by G7 leaders on the day of the invasion, CNN reports.
For decades, the US and Russia have collaborated in space. From the 1975 Soyuz-Apollo pilot project in the midst of the Cold War to the ongoing partnership in the International Space Station program, the two countries worked together in space amid political turmoil on Earth. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has provoked a backlash from Russian space agency partners and challenges the spirit of cooperation.
New satellite images from the Maxar, Planet, and BlackSky satellites give an impression of the scale of the destruction in Mariupol, whose population at the beginning of the invasion was about 500,000 people.
Currently, it is impossible to find food in Mariupol, there is almost no water and other basic necessities. The city has been under siege for over a month. Russia sees the capture of the city as a strategic priority and fires rockets and artillery at it, destroying homes, grocery stores, theaters, kindergartens, maternity hospitals and many other non-military buildings. Satellites operated by Maxar, Planet, BlackSky and other companies have repeatedly documented this damage and destruction over the past month, and a new batch of Maxar images further details them.
On Tuesday (March 29), Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-3 satellite took a picture of hundreds of people queuing near the Metro store (it closed on March 2). They were waiting for food and other supplies, according to a description of this and other new satellite imagery sent by e-mail from PR company representing Maxar, Virginia.
On these two photos taken by WorldView-3 on Tuesday, it is visible how apartment buildings and houses have turned into ruins.
Also, Maxar Technologies WorldView-3 satellite took photos of the mass grave on the territory of the Church of St. Andrew the First-Called and All Saints on March 31 in Bucha. There is a trench about 14 m long at the burial site.
Locals and the Kyiv Regional Police – Bucha is near the Ukrainian capital – said they thought at least 150 people were buried in a makeshift grave, CNN reported.
The scale of the destruction in Bucha, Kyiv and other cities in northern Ukraine became known only recently as Russian troops withdraw from the region. Bucha was particularly hard hit, with Ukrainians returning to the city “finding many bodies in yards and on the roads amid growing evidence of deliberate and indiscriminate killings of civilians” by Russian soldiers, according to The New York Times.
Such scenes outraged many people around the world and provoked talks of increasing Russia’s punishment for invading Ukraine.
President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, took to Twitter to express her shock from what she’s seen.
Appalled by atrocities of Russian army in #Bucha & other liberated areas.
This is cold reality of Putin’s war crimes.
World must be aware of what is happening. Tougher sanctions must be imposed.
Perpetrators & their commanders must be brought to justice.#StandWithUkraine️
— Roberta Metsola (@EP_President) April 3, 2022