May 26, 2024
  • Ukraine wants to limit companies taking satellite imagery of its territory, according to reports.

  • Russia could access the images through shell companies, a Ukrainian defense official said.

  • This comes a month after the US warned that China is providing geospatial intelligence to Russia.

Ukraine says it is cracking down on satellite images of its territory over fears that they could be used by Russia against it, according to reports.

“Every day, satellite companies take images of Ukrainian territory. These images can be used by the enemy,” Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Kateryna Chernohorenko, said in a statement relayed by multiple media outlets.

Chernohorenko said that “in times of war, we must minimize the risks of the enemy using images of Ukraine,” adding that Russia can access them through shell companies, per Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Ukraine’s defense ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with unnamed satellite companies to limit the distribution of such images, per the Kyiv Independent, and met with the leadership of one of them, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

The ministry also said it had struck a deal with one satellite company, which it refused to name for security reasons, to provide high-resolution imaging for security and defense purposes, per the Kyiv Independent.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The news comes a month after the US warned its allies that China is providing geospatial intelligence to Russia, as Bloomberg reported.

Satellite imagery has proven a crucial resource for capturing and verifying the movements of naval assets, Russia’s advances into Ukraine, the war’s death toll, and the trail of destruction left by fighting across the front line.

Both Ukraine and Russia have used satellites, notably Elon Musk’s Starlink network, for military purposes, to allow soldiers to communicate on the front lines and for weapons systems and drones to function.

Elon Musk has denied Ukrainian claims that Russians are using Starlink, saying that the network is inoperable in Russia, but a complex black market has allowed terminals to fall into the hands of Russian soldiers and those of other armed forces, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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