by Brendan Cole
Nov 26, 2022
Ukraine’s defense intelligence (GUR) has said it has managed to detect thousands of pieces of Russian military equipment using space reconnaissance.
The GUR said in a Telegram post that a crowdfunded satellite purchased from Polish-Finnish manufacturer ICEYE has been used to find 150 areas where Russian forces were located.
The device revealed the concealed deployments of Russian troops and uncovered the locations of tanks, self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft missiles and helicopters.
Ukrainian intelligence was also able to locate Russia’s Iskander, S-300 and Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile systems, enemy radars, pontoon crossings, as well as boats and tents.
This satellite data helped identify antenna systems and positions of anti-aircraft weapons and “made it possible to effectively determine the hidden location of the enemy in forest plantations, in any weather and at night,” the GUR posted, according to a translation.
The satellite was purchased after a 600 million hryvnia ($16.25 million) fundraising campaign that started in June, led by the Serhiy Prytula Foundation, named after the prominent Ukrainian actor and politician.
The initial aim was to buy three Bayraktar attack drones but after the money was raised, the Turkish firm decided to give away the aircraft for free.
The money was instead used to purchase the radar satellite, which was handed over to the GUR. The fundraising has allowed Ukraine to purchase access to the entire database of ImageSat International (ISI) satellite images for more than a year.
Prytula tweeted that “the People’s Satellite” had detected 2,600 pieces of Russian equipment and discovered enemy locations in Ukraine, Russia and its allied countries.
“I am more than happy that donations of so many Ukrainians and [Ukrainian] friends from abroad turned into incredible results,” he wrote.
On Friday, Prytula tweeted: “On behalf of our foundation and on behalf of our defenders, I would like to thank all those incredible Ukrainians and those who cheer for Ukraine from beyond its borders, for giving us the opportunity to realize this (in all senses of the word) cosmic project!”
Satellite imagery allows Kyiv and its allies to assess the movement of Russian troops in Ukraine and monitor Russia. The Ukrainians had not owned their own satellite and received data from external sources, such as the U.S., European Union, and China, Ukraine Today reported.
Since the start of Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion, Ukraine has received free satellite imagery from companies such as Maxar Technologies, Planet, and BlackSky, as part of military aid packages.