Home Social gathering A tragic history of Ukraine told with drones, satellites and social media

A tragic history of Ukraine told with drones, satellites and social media


When Russia invaded, Filkina stayed behind, helping people in Bucha and cooking for the Ukrainian army, according to her daughter.

She got the red manicure for Valentine’s Day and drew “a heart on her finger because she started loving herself,” her daughter Subacheva told CNN.

CNN’s Tara John, Oleksandra Ochman, Eoin McSweeney and Gianluca Mezzofiore put the pieces together in a remarkable report. Read it.

The Germans are also collecting evidence

Evidence of war crimes comes not just from drones and social media, but also from intelligence agencies.

RELATED: Drone video team turns the tables on Russian vehicle cover-up
This is from a CNN report on German intelligence about intercepted Russian radio communications:

Der Spiegel reported that the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, intercepted Russian radio conversations about the killing of civilians in Bucha, and that some of the conversations could be directly linked to specific Bucha killings that have since been documented. the first appearance of an apparent massacre there.

German intelligence has satellite imagery that indicates Russian troop involvement in the Bucha killings, the Washington Post reported, citing an unnamed intelligence official, although the newspaper said radio transmissions were unavailable. not related to this place.

Russia’s disinformation campaign continues

Russia is also apparently trying to tell its own story by hacking into the social media accounts of Ukrainian soldiers, according to Facebook parent company Meta.

The tactics used by the groups, according to Meta, include impersonating independent journalists and news outlets online to advance Russian talking points, attempting to hack into dozens of Ukrainian soldiers’ Facebook accounts, and to carry out coordinated campaigns to try to get messages of criticism from Russia. removed from social media.

Meta said a hacking group known as “Ghostwriter”, which cyber experts say is linked to Belarus, tried to hack the Facebook accounts of dozens of Ukrainian servicemen.

Reporting on the atrocities

Meanwhile, photos and reports from the ground in Ukraine document what is really happening.

Julia Kochetova is a Ukrainian photographer who stayed to cover the war. She explained to CNN’s Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow of Kyiv on Thursday how she separates the important mission of documenting atrocities from the pain of witnessing them.

“As a Ukrainian, as a citizen, as a photojournalist, I continue to do my job. But I also had a strong feeling that it is not enough to witness what is happening, what that the crime against humanity is happening with my country, but also to document this crime.”

It is important, she said, that Ukrainian journalists bring these images to the world.

“I still believe that we need to highlight local voices because Ukrainian photographers in the field have real perspective, real balance and real truth. Because we not only know context, not just language — it’s our war; this is our country.”

Russia reprimanded by the UN

Perceptions of reality are extremely important in this war. Ukraine and Western countries effectively rallied most of the world against Russia by showing that the invasion was unjust, illegal and based on lies about Ukraine.

The United Nations on Thursday voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

“The General Assembly has sent a crystal clear message to the Russian leadership that a government whose military regularly commits horrific human rights abuses has no place in the Human Rights Council Rights Watch,” said Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, with a call for the UN and the International Criminal Court to gather evidence and organize trials for crimes of war.

“Horrifying images of Bucha have shocked people around the world. The victims and their families deserve those responsible to be held accountable.”

Preparing for a war crimes trial

Charbonneau’s comments brought up the issue of war crimes and how they can be prosecuted. This conflict will be different in that it has been so meticulously documented.

That drone and satellite images can immediately refute Russian claims about when bodies were left on the streets of Bucha is remarkable.

Organizations like Bellingcat, the Netherlands-based investigative journalism group, use satellite and social media to document war crimes and identify perpetrators.
A former ICC prosecutor, James Goldston, who is now part of the Open Society Justice Initiative, recently told me for a previous newsletter that war crimes trials would be constructed like any other criminal case – from bottom up – and would rely on the documentation.

“Often, international criminal investigations begin with the ‘basis of the crime’ – authenticated images, testimonies and other evidence relating to murder, torture, rape or other prohibited offenses which may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity – and trace back along a military or political chain to demonstrate the guilt of those who ordered, or were aware of but failed to prevent/punish, the commission of such crimes “said Goldston.

Perhaps the hyperconnectedness of the world we live in will help to hold accountable those who threaten the world we live in.