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Military activity in Russia spotted in satellite photos as tensions rise in Ukraine

Satellites can see military activity in Russia from space. 

Russia's military activity continues to spark international concern and conversation. Russia has now sent military troops into Ukraine for "peacekeeping" operations, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday (Feb. 21). 

As military and political action is taken here on Earth, satellites in orbit can see what goes on from space. In recent images captured between Feb. 13 and Feb. 22, satellites operated by Maxar Technologies observed military activity across Belarus, Crimea and western Russia, all of which border Ukraine.

Related: How Russia's Progress spaceships work (infographic)

After Russia's movement into Ukraine on Monday, today (Feb. 22) at a White House briefing, U.S. President Joe Biden described the action as "the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine," and took action to authorize new economic sanctions and send U.S. troops to the Baltics, according to Vice (opens in new tab).

While these images show military activity from before Russia began sending military troops into Ukraine, they detail a significant fleet of military technology and resources in these three nations. 

The activity and resources that can be seen in these images include deployed helicopters, tents, ground attack aircraft, air defense units, vehicle convoys and more, Maxar Technologies shared in an emailed release alongside the satellite images. 

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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.