Cosmic ‘eyes’

Andrey Kots

Political, diplomatic and economic pressure on Moscow, the supply of weapons and military equipment – NATO countries continue to defiantly help Ukraine. However, support of a different kind remains behind the scenes: from the very beginning of the conflict, Western intelligence services have been continuously supplying Kyiv with intelligence. What exactly – in the material RIA Novosti.
Cosmic “eyes”
Back in 2014, the Americans began to transfer satellite images of the Donbass and border areas to Ukraine. However, at first, they kept the appearance of decorum – they blacked out Russian military facilities and reduced the clarity of images. Canada has granted the Armed Forces limited access to the RADARSAT-2 satellite. And in 2015, the State Space Agency of Ukraine signed a contract with the European company Airbus Defense and Space on the use of data from the Pleiades-1 and Pleiades-2 spacecraft.
All eight years of the war in the Donbass, it was not so important. The positional nature of the armed conflict did not imply a sharp change in the operational situation. Now, however, all conventions are thrown aside. Intelligence from orbit arrives in Kyiv daily, in fact, in real time.
NATO does not even think to hide the fact that their devices are constantly hanging over the combat zone. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, just hours after the fire on the missile cruiser Moskva, said the agency already had satellite images of the sinking ship.
And in early April, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin publicly acknowledged the transfer of intelligence to Ukraine. According to him, the Pentagon provides information to Kyiv in order to “help the Armed Forces of Ukraine attack enemy troops in the Donbass.”
Private entrepreneurs are not far behind. The Amer-ican company SpaceX sent more than five thousand Starlink satellite Internet terminals to Ukraine for the rapid exchange of intelligence information.
The Ukrainians can use the information received, in particular, when planning attacks on Russian settlements.
Closed sky
“The border regions of Russia, like the Donbass, are also under constant surveillance from orbit,” says military expert Alexei Leonkov. “The West regularly informs Ukraine about the location of our troops: where they are moving, where they are attacking or defending. the operation of radio equipment in close proximity to the line of contact, especially about the electronic warfare systems that jam Ukrainian drones. Western specialists also designate targets for strikes.”
According to the expert, Earth remote sensing satellites are now the main source of information for the Western military. Prior to the Russian special operation, American drones, including RQ-4 Global Hawk heavy strategic drones, were constantly flying along the contact line in Donbass. And the coast of Crimea and the airspace of Ukraine were regularly flown by NATO spy planes U-2SDragon Lady, RC-135W Rivet Joit and P-8A Poseidon.
It is easy to guess what their goals were. The Ministry of Defense emphasizes: Ukraine was going to return by force the uncontrolled areas of Donbass in early March. Kyiv was pushing the West to do this, transmitting to the Armed Forces of Ukraine the coordinates of the positions of the armies of the DPR, LPR and Russia, the locations of military units, air defense systems, and maps of field fortifications. However, Russia now controls the skies over the war zone. And NATO is unlikely to dare to risk the lives of pilots and expensive equipment.
Enemy experience
NATO ground infrastructure is also used. In particular, at the Polish airfield near the city of Rzeszow, 70 kilometers from the eastern border, American Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems are deployed. They not only guard this important transit point, from where convoys with weapons leave, but also monitor the airspace over Western Ukraine.
The target detection range of standard AN / MPQ-65 radars is up to 180 kilometers. This allows you to view the sky of the entire Lviv region and notify the Ukrainian General Staff in a timely manner about the approach of Russian cruise missiles to military infrastructure facilities. Western specialists are also working directly in the combat zone. It is no secret that foreigners are fighting in the Armed Forces of Ukraine – both mercenaries and military personnel. It is they who, according to the DPR and LPR, act as operators of American-made counter-battery radars, helping Ukrainians to identify the positions of Russian artillery.
The other day, the British media reported the arrival in Lviv of about two dozen fighters of the elite SAS special forces, specializing, among other things, in deep reconnaissance. It is not excluded their direct participation in hostilities.
It is important to understand that NATO countries are helping Ukraine with military supplies and intelligence information not out of great love for the Kyiv regime. Observing the actions of Russian troops, tactics, peculiarities of the use of weapons, strengths and weaknesses, generals in Brussels and Washington carefully analyze how a potential enemy fights. And there is no doubt: according to their findings, dozens of textbooks for Western military schools and academies will be written.