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Food lines in besieged Ukrainian city Mariupol visible from space (satellite photos)

This photo, taken by Maxar Technologies’ Worldview-3 satellite, shows a large crowd of people waiting for food and supplies outside a Mariupol grocery store on March 29, 2022.
This photo, taken by Maxar Technologies’ Worldview-3 satellite, shows a large crowd of people waiting for food and supplies outside a Mariupol grocery store on March 29, 2022. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Satellites continue to provide glimpses of the toll that Russia's ongoing invasion is taking on the people of Ukraine.

On Tuesday (March 29), for example, Maxar Technologies' WorldView-3 satellite captured a photo showing hundreds of people queued up outside a grocery store in Mariupol, a port city in southern Ukraine. 

They were waiting to receive food and other supplies, a public relations company that represents Virginia-based Maxar said in an emailed description of that and other new satellite images.

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Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-3 satellite captured this photo of apartment buildings and homes in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol destroyed by Russian shelling.

Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-3 satellite captured this photo on March 29, 2022. It shows apartment buildings and homes in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol destroyed by Russian shelling. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Food, water and other basic necessities are hard to come by in Mariupol these days. The city has been under siege for more than a month — pretty much since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24. Russia views the capture of the city as a strategic priority (opens in new tab) and has been pounding it with missiles and artillery, destroying apartment blocks, grocery stores, theaters and many other non-military buildings.

Satellites operated by Maxar, Planet, BlackSky and other companies have documented this damage and destruction repeatedly over the past month, and the new batch of Maxar imagery fleshes it out further still.

For instance, two WorldView-3 photos snapped on Tuesday show a number of apartment buildings and houses reduced to rubble. 

The invasion of Ukraine has made Russia something of a pariah; the United States and other nations have imposed harsh economic sanctions in response, and a number of high-profile companies have ceased their Russian operations (opens in new tab), at least for now.

This photo, captured by Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-3 satellite on March 29, 2022, shows the destruction of residential apartment buildings in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by Russian shelling.

This photo, captured by Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-3 satellite on March 29, 2022, shows the destruction of residential apartment buildings in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol by Russian shelling. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies)

The longstanding space partnership between Russia and the West has been affected as well. For example, Russia has stopped selling its rocket engines to American companies and halted the use of Russian-made Soyuz rockets at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. 

But some areas of cooperation remain. Russia is still an active partner in the International Space Station program, for example, as shown by the recent return to Earth of NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov. The trio landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan Wednesday (March 30) inside a Russian Soyuz capsule, wrapping up a mission to the orbiting lab.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).  

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Mike Wall
Mike Wall

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.