Canadian satellite company providing real-time imagery to Ukraine to help track Russian troop movements

Maxar satellite imagery of burning homes and impact craters in Rivnopillya, Ukraine

  • Remote sensing technology can track the movements of Russian soldiers.
  • Ukraine’s digital transformation minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, had previously appealed for satellite data.
  • The Canadian firm’s assistance forms part of growing international support for Ukraine’s defence.
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A Canadian satellite builder and operator is providing Ukraine with real-time satellite imagery to help it monitor Russian troop movements.

The technology provided by Ontario-based MDA uses remote sensing to track Russian forces on the ground in Ukraine in real-time, including at night or when conditions are cloudy, Reuters first reported.

The company received approval from the Canadian government on March 4 to share the imagery with Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Ukraine’s armed forces, greatly outnumbered by Russian firepower and troops, have been receiving support from international donors to help mount a defense against Russia’s invasion. Countries have provided weapons, expertise, and other forms of assistance but have refused to send troops to Ukraine amid concerns that it would escalate the conflict.

Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, on March 1 made an appeal via his Twitter feed seeking synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, satellite data to help monitor Russian forces.

“We badly need the opportunity to watch the movement of Russian troops, especially at night when our technologies are blind,” Federov said.

In addition to tracking troops, images from MDA’s technology can pick out vehicles, infrastructure, and ships in all weather conditions, MDA’s CEO, Mike Greenley, told Reuters.

“We can deliver intelligence reports and people can make determinations of what’s going on the ground, or on the sea, from our radar imagery,” Greenley told the agency.

Greenley told Reuters that the intelligence is sent securely via Western-based commercial agencies or governments, and the company has tightened its security in anticipation of any Russian retaliation.

MDA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside normal working hours.

MDA satellite imagery may prove useful in monitoring the 40-mile-long convoy of Russian military vehicles that is stationed 30 kilometers north of Kyiv and includes tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery and supplies.

Federov’s Twitter appeal had also stated that the imagery and other open source tools could provide information about military buildups in neighboring countries as well as refugee flows.

Canada’s support for Ukraine includes sending 4,500 M72 rocket launchers and 7,500 hand grenades to Ukraine, in addition to slapping tariffs on Russian imports and easing the immigration process for Ukrainians, The Globe and Mail reported.

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