Russian airstrikes on Ukraine aided by U.S. satellite data

Aftermath of  Russians airstrikes
Aftermath of Russians airstrikes

Airstrikes on Ukraine have been tracked by the Russians using images from American satellites, Artem Starosek, CEO of Ukraine's largest open-source intelligence (OSINT) agency, Molfar, revealed during a Radio NV interview on May 29.

"Two months ago, Graham Wood suggested in The Atlantic that the Russians use photos from American satellites to adjust strikes on Ukraine, but he provided no concrete evidence or sources," Starosek commented.

Following up on these claims, Molfar analysts investigated 321 enemy attacks during 2022 and discovered that in 277 cases (86%), someone had purchased photos of target areas just days before attacks occurred. Notable targets included Starokostyantyniv, Sumy, and the Lutsk airfield, with the March 26, 2022, attacks on a tank factory and oil depot in Lviv being particularly significant.

Read also: Ukraine moves to limit satellite photography over its territory

Starosek indicated that U.S. companies Maxar and Planet were frequently involved, albeit indirectly. "Neither Maxar nor Planet officially cooperate with Russia. However, their resellers do. These intermediaries, hired by satellite operators to boost sales, sold us images under the guise of a fictitious Kazakhstani company without issue. As Mr. Budanov, head of Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate, said: 'For satellite operators, war is just business,'" he explained.

Starosek suggested that limiting satellite imagery over Ukraine and revising Know Your Customer (KYC) policies might mitigate such misuse.

The Atlantic had earlier reported in March that Russia might be using satellite images from U.S. firms to plan missile strikes on Ukraine, with subsequent satellite imagery often capturing the aftermath of these strikes.

In a related report last October, NV disclosed that the Russian mercenary group Wagner contracted with a Chinese firm on November 15, 2022, to acquire two satellites, thereby enhancing its intelligence capabilities as it supports Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine