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Iceye Limits Satellite Imaging Over Ukraine in Deal with Ukrainian MoD 

By Rachel Jewett | July 8, 2024
An Iceye satellite in orbit. Photo: Iceye

An Iceye satellite in orbit. Photo: Iceye

Iceye will work more closely with the Ukraine Ministry of Defense amid Russia’s war in the country, signing a memorandum of cooperation to ensure the company’s imagery captured over Ukraine will not be shared with hostile countries or entities.

Iceye, based in Finland, operates a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite constellation. The company said that it “continues to constantly ensure that the imagery captured pertinent to Ukraine’s territory is used in the interests of ensuring the security and defense of Ukraine in conditions of armed aggression and not shared in any circumstance with hostile countries or entities.”

CEO Rafal Modrzewski said in a release the company has a responsibility to ensure its services are not misused against Ukraine, calling for peers to do the same. 

“As an operator of highly advanced space capabilities and as a supplier of geospatial intelligence, we believe that we have a responsibility to prevent the misuse of our services against Ukraine,” continued Rafal Modrzewski, “We ask our peers to stand with us and Ukraine in this approach against unwarranted foreign aggression.”                                   

Satellite imagery has been a key capability in Russia’s war in Ukraine. Iceye has been very public about its support for Ukraine, announcing an agreement in 2022 designating one of its satellites for the government of Ukraine to use over the region. 

Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defense Kateryna Chernohorenko commented: “I support the intention to limit space imaging over the territory of Ukraine. We must protect the country on land, in the air, at sea, and in space.”

In addition, Oleksandra Ustinova, head of Ukraine’s Parliamentary Commission on Arms, called on all satellite companies to not sell imagery to Russia. 

Iceye and the Ukrainian MoD also agreed to partner on Ukraine’s space defense capabilities, including SAR expertise to support defense activities. The memorandum focuses on advancing remote sensing technology, improving data use for security, and supporting Ukraine’s space economy.