Satellite images show new deployments around Ukraine

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US-based Maxar Technologies says recent satellite images show Russian military activity in multiple locations across Belarus, Ukraine’s annexed Crimea region and western Russia,

This Friday, February 18, 2022, satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies show a close-up view of S-400 air defense units at Luminets airfield in Belarus. (AP)

Satellite images taken this week show military activity in multiple locations across Belarus, Ukraine’s annexed Crimea region and western Russia near the Ukrainian border, a private US company said.

U.S.-based Maxar Technologies, which has been tracking the buildup of Russian forces for weeks, said on Friday the footage showed recent helicopter deployments, consisting of both troop and attack helicopters. on the ground, in several places near the border.

Footage also showed that additional ground attack aircraft, air defense units and drone equipment had recently been deployed.

Reuters could not independently verify what was shown in the images.

As of Friday, February 18, 2022, satellite imagery provided by Maxar Technologies, ground forces units, troop tents and a field hospital remain deployed in Novoozernoye, Crimea.

As of Friday, February 18, 2022, satellite imagery provided by Maxar Technologies, ground forces units, troop tents and a field hospital remain deployed in Novoozernoye, Crimea. (AP)

More than 50 helicopters arrive in Belarus

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to invade Ukraine and was spreading false information in an attempt to build a pretext for a military strike that could take place within days. Russia says it has no such intention and accuses the West of irresponsibly fearmongering.

Maxar said images showed a large new deployment of at least 50 helicopters had arrived in northwest Belarus.

A new helicopter unit and battle group deployment consisting of tanks, armored personnel carriers and support equipment was deployed to an airfield about 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) from the Ukrainian border, the satellite company said.

A satellite image shows attack helicopter deployments at Zyabrovka airfield in Belarus on February 15, 2022. Picture taken February 15, 2022. [Maxar Technologies]

A satellite image shows attack helicopter deployments at Zyabrovka airfield in Belarus on February 15, 2022. Picture taken February 15, 2022. [Maxar Technologies]
(Reuters)

More information needed

The US government contracts with commercial satellite companies for supplemental imagery and to relieve pressure on image collection systems needed for other high-priority information.

Commercial satellite images, as snapshots in time, do not provide indisputable evidence of exactly what the Russian military is doing or why.

“You can see something on a base, which looks like a base that has a lot of activity”, and draw general conclusions. “But in terms of what’s being done there and what units – it takes a lot more information,” said Hans Kristensen, who has extensively analyzed commercial satellite imagery to study weapons developments. in China and elsewhere in his post as director of the Nuclear Information Project of the Federation of American Scientists.

A satellite image shows an overview of helicopter deployments near Lake Donuzlav, Crimea, Ukraine February 18, 2022. [Maxar Technologies]

A satellite image shows an overview of helicopter deployments near Lake Donuzlav, Crimea, Ukraine February 18, 2022. [Maxar Technologies]
(Reuters)

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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