Ukraine: ESA astronaut details how he watched the war from space: ‘Clearly visible’ | Science | News


As the Ukraine war rumbles on, Russian bombs continue to obliterate buildings in huge explosions causing catastrophic damage. Satellite images have shown buildings across the city of Mariupol were completely destroyed by Russian shelling. Important structures such as Mariupol theatre have been bombed, while the city’s train station was also destroyed.

But it is not only Ukrainian locals or soldiers on the frontline witnessing these events as it happens.

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, who recently completed a 177-day stint aboard the space station, said the carnage is more than visible from the cosmos.

He told German broadcaster ARD: “When you’re in space, you feel so far away at first.”

But Mr Maurer added the invasion “was clearly visible to the naked eye from space”.

He also said he has been able to see “huge black columns of smoke over cities like Mariupol”.

Mr Maurer even said he could see the earliest signs of the invasion pan out.

He told ARD: “At the beginning of the war, the whole country went dark at night.

“People actually only recognized Kyiv.

“Then you could also see the impacts in the first days of the war. In Kyiv, you could see lightning at night.”

He added that viewing the war from above makes the horrific events look even more dramatic.

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This exposed Vladimir Putin’s horrors on the Ukrainian people, something which Russia had denied.

It came after Ukrainian forces claimed to find evidence of civilian murders after re-entering the town following the exit from the Russians.

Maxar Technologies high-resolution satellite images “verified” the claims, according to the company’s spokesman Stephen Wood.

And earlier this month, images from above also revealed that Russian troops rebuilt a pontoon bridge in the east of Ukraine to allow their heavy artillery to cross into the conflict areas and “chop away” at the Ukrainian forces.

Speaking to CNN, journalist Tom Foreman said: “The Ukrainians have focused on bridges in the eastern regions a great deal, because one of the concerns all along is that the Russians would be able to get behind Ukrainian forces.

“They fear that this could allow the Russians to isolate them, cut off their supplies and then just chop away at them.

“This bridge, near Belahorivka, is one of those pontoon-type bridges, which has been built here.

“Now remember the Ukrainians have been blowing up a lot of their own bridges as they have retreated from areas.

“The Russians are a very traditional military force, they need to move big pieces of equipment, artillery, tanks, things like that.

“For that they need bridges, so the Ukrainians have managed to go after them to try and cut them off, but the Russians keep trying to rebuild them.”