Ukraine Has First-Rate Satellite Intelligence Courtesy of Uncle Sam, Making Its Artillery Far Deadlier
Lawfully Russia would be entirely justified in shooting down US satellites
Ukrainian military publicized an artillery strike it conducted against a camp of the Russian 35th Combined Arms Army (accompanied by horribly cheezy music considering the occasion):
Головнокомандувач ЗСУ Валерій Залужний
На Київському напрямку наші артилеристи влаштували highway to hell командному пункту і пункту забезпечення 35-ої Армії Східного військового округу ЗС РФ.https://t.co/gJnOtyMQdj pic.twitter.com/YDQoVK6tjr
— 🇺🇦Armed Forces (@ArmedForcesUkr) March 16, 2022
How does a strike like this happen?
Aside from counter-battery fire, such an installation is defenseless against enemy long-range artillery. What keeps it safe is that normally enemy wouldn’t know about it. The enemy can’t normally see tens of kilometers behind your front line.
On paper the Ukrainians have the capability to discover such camps by flying drones, either in a grid search or directing them to sources of intense radio chatter they might have detected.
But there is reason to believe their reconnaissance is far simpler than that. The New York Times reports:
In Washington and Germany, intelligence officials race to merge satellite photographs with electronic intercepts of Russian military units, strip them of hints of how they were gathered, and beam them to Ukrainian military units within an hour or two.
So the Americans are providing the Ukrainians with numerous satellite images of the battlefield and of the Russian rear.
So in fact the Ukrainians do not need to spend time and resources discovering the layout of the Russian rear. Something they would have only a limited ability to do.
Instead, the whole Russian rear is laid bare to them courtesy of American satellites.
Knowing exactly where the Russian camps are, they are easy enough to target. Whether with the help of drone surveillance for better precision or not. (Particularly by self-propelled artillery which can quickly change position after a few salvos to avoid potential Russian counter-fire.)
America is neck-deep in this war. This is yet one more aspect of its involvement.
(Or you could say that America launched a war vs Russia decades ago and Russia responded by opening a front in Ukraine. Ergo the daily Pentagon briefings on an ostensibly Russian-Ukrainian war.)
Actually, The New York Times tries to muddy the waters by saying that the US is not passing on “intelligence that would tell Ukrainian forces how to go after specific targets” but I don’t know what that is even supposed to mean.
And they say they are not passing on specific intelligence that would tell Ukrainian forces how to go after specific targets. The concern is that doing so would give Russia an excuse to say it is fighting the United States or NATO, not Ukraine.
They’re passing on images coupled with electronic intercepts within an hour but it’s not “specific intelligence” about “specific targets”. So what does that mean? That Americans will send an image of Russian forces and installations but they won’t circle them with a thick red marker? What kind of gaslighting is this? Of course, satellite images will help with targeting and long-range attacks.