Shocking Before and After Satellite Imagery of Embattled City in Ukraine

Before and after Bakhmut
Side by side comparison of an area in Bakhmut.

Fresh satellite images of the embattled Ukrainian city of Bakhmut lays bare the awful destruction that war has brought to the region.

The city in Eastern Ukraine has long been a battleground between the invading Russian army and the Ukrainians attempting to defend themselves — both sides have suffered significant casualties in Bakhmut.

“Ukrainians have not given up their defense of Bakhmut and the Russians haven’t given up their attempts to take Bakhmut,” says White House National Security spokesman John Kirby. “Every single day, the lines change back and forth. I mean, sometimes block by block.”

Satellite images released by Maxar Technologies show the scale of the destruction. The first set of images taken in May 2022 shows a normal municipality, but the second set, taken in May 2023, reveals the devastation caused by shelling and other heavy artillery attacks.

Before and After Bakhmut

A theater with shops nearby in May 2022.
The theater and shops destroyed in May 2023.

The images detail rows of apartment buildings, schools, and other buildings entirely wiped out from the ravages of war. Green areas are now brown with smoke bellowing from some buildings that are still burning down,

Apartment buildings and a school in May 2022.
The same apartment buildings and a school in May 2023.
The city of Bakhmut, Ukraine, May 8, 2022.
The city of Bakhmut, Ukraine, May 15 2023.
Universtiy buildings and a radio tower in May 2022.
The same patch of city in May 2023.
A school and apartment buildings in May 2022.
Raised to the ground in May 2023.

Today, the Reuters news agency reported that Russia’s army was retreating from Bakhmut as Ukraine make its biggest advance for six months.

It comes after Ukraine has been on the defensive for six months, weathering a huge offensive by Moscow that only saw slight gains.

“Now, for the most part, as we have started to advance, they are shelling all the routes to front positions, so our armored vehicles can’t deliver more infantry, ammunition, and other things,” says Petro Podaru, commander of a Ukrainian artillery unit.

The conflict in Ukraine is Europe’s deadliest ground combat since World War Two.

Image credits: All photos by Maxar Technologies.