Canadian satellite builder MDA is providing Ukraine with near real-time satellite imagery to monitor Russian troop movements. 

“We can deliver intelligence reports and people can make determinations of what’s going on the ground, or on the sea, from our radar imagery,” MDA CEO Mike Greenley told Reuters on Tuesday. “It’s all about… doing the right thing and giving Ukraine the support that they need.”

Greenley said that in the SAR images, “you can see groups of vehicles, you can see changes to buildings, you can see changes to bridges, you can see ships at sea through all weather conditions day and night.”

The intelligence is communicated to Ukraine through western-based commercial agencies or governments, according to Greenley. He added that MDA received approval from the Canadian government to share these images with Ukraine on March 4. 

Asked whether he feared Russian retaliation, Greenley said that MDA had adopted a “slightly heightened security posture.”  

Ukraine digital transformation minister Mykhailo Fedorov had made an appeal to the international community on Twitter two weeks ago, asking for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite data. 

“We badly need the opportunity to watch the movement of Russian troops, especially at night when our technologies are blind,” said Fedorov in a tweet on March 1. 

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine “a special operation,” claiming it is not designed to occupy territory. 

The move by MDA is the latest in a series of actions taken by Canada and Canadian companies against Russia. These actions range from bans on Russian banking, closure of Canadian airspace to Russian aircraft and the removal of Russian alcohol from the shelves of government-run liquor stores.

Most notably, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on crude oil imports from Russia on Feb. 28. 

“This industry accounts for more than a third of Russia’s federal budget revenues,” said Trudeau. “And while Canada has imported very little amounts in recent years, this measure sends a powerful message.”

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