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Satellite photos reveal details of Russian invasion into Ukraine

Ukraine's Chuhuiv Airbase on Feb. 24, 2022, as seen by a satellite operated by the company Planet.
Ukraine's Chuhuiv Airbase on Feb. 24, 2022, as seen by a satellite operated by the company Planet. (Image credit: Planet Labs PBC)

Satellites orbiting Earth are capturing a detailed view of Russia's invasion into Ukraine. 

Today (Feb. 24), Russia invaded Ukraine with attacks that have killed dozens already, NBC has reported. As part of this invasion, which has prompted the U.S. to execute new sanctions, Russia seized control over the region around the Chernobyl power plant, which saw a tragic nuclear accident in 1986, an act that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called "a declaration of war against the whole of Europe," according to NBC (opens in new tab).

As the conflict continues, satellite images reveal the aftermath of the first attacks of this invasion. 

Related: What does the Ukraine invasion mean for US-Russian partnership in space?

Images captured today by satellites operated by Planet (formerly Planet Labs), a U.S.-based company that operates over 200 Earth-observing satellites, show the Mykolaiv Airbase and the Chuhuiv Airbase, both of which are in Ukraine.

The Chuhuiv Airbase on Feb. 21, 2022. (Image credit: Planet Labs PBC)

In the images above, you can see the Chuhuiv Airbase as it was on Feb. 21. The base is located just outside of the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine. 

The Chuhuiv Airbase on Feb. 24, 2022. (Image credit: Planet Labs PBC)

However, in the image above captured on Feb. 24, the Chuhuiv Airbase looks quite different. 

The satellite image reveals a dark plume of smoke billowing upward from the region. These images were captured on the same day that reports allege (opens in new tab) that a Russian missile strike hit the base.

In the image above, you can see the Mykolaiv Airbase as it stood a few days ago on Feb. 21, followed by what it looks like today. 

In today's image,  you can see the main difference being large wafting clouds. According to maps created by the BBC (opens in new tab), there have been explosions reported within the vicinity of Mykolaiv.

Planet released these images publicly along with a statement on Twitter about the events unfolding in Ukraine. 

"Sad to see the tragic and deteriorating events in Ukraine. We have and will continue to provide imagery from the region to our partners, aid, relief and human rights organizations, and the media to expose the situation as events unfold. Our thoughts are with the people of [Ukraine]," Planet tweeted (opens in new tab)

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.