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Ukraine goes dark: Satellite images show lights out in war-torn country

Ukraine has fallen into darkness, as these satellite images of Europe lit-up at night show.

Ukraine has stood in stark contrast to the rest of the continent since war began there. It appears as a dark area surrounded by lit-up neighbouring countries.

This image from NASA was taken on 7 February 2022. It shows what Ukraine looked like at night a month ago and before Russia invaded on 24 February.

Ukraine seen from space at night on 7 February 2022. Pic: NASA LAADS

Clusters of lights in built-up areas such as cities or on some significant roads appear as white on the map.


Some of the white lights look slightly muted compared to others. This is because of cloud cover.

We can now look at what Ukraine looked like at night on 7 March 2022.

Ukraine seen from space at night on 7 March. Pic: NASA LAADS
Ukraine seen from space at night on 7 March. Pic: NASA LAADS

Now, only a small amount of white can be seen – but the majority of night time light sources have gone out.

Here are the images side-by-side. You can move the white line from left to right to compare the two pictures.

We can also see the impact of the war on individual cities and regions of Ukraine.

Kyiv is towards the top of these images.

Some areas appear blurred in the image taken on 7 February because of clouds.

Despite this, the capital is brightly lit, with a flurry of light spiralling outwards. Dozens of small dots cover the rest of the image.

A month later, the whole area is almost entirely dark. The light coming from Kyiv city is greatly reduced, and only a handful of other lights are visible on 7 March.

The southern coast of Ukraine is a key target for Russia and as a result has seen a lot of fighting, in particular around Kherson and Mykolaiv.

Lights around Mykolaiv have almost entirely disappeared, while Kherson retains a very small amount of visible light at night.

Odesa, to the west, is thought to be one of Russia’s next targets but so far has not been attacked in the same way as Kherson and Mykolaiv. Despite this, many of the lights in the normally buzzing tourist destination have gone out.

Also visible in the images is Crimea, an area in Ukraine that was annexed by Russia in 2014.

The lights around Sevastopol, shortened on the map to ‘Sev’, remain unchanged over the last month.

The Data and Forensics team is a multi-skilled unit dedicated to providing transparent journalism from Sky News. We gather, analyse and visualise data to tell data-driven stories. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced analysis of satellite images, social media and other open source information. Through multimedia storytelling we aim to better explain the world while also showing how our journalism is done.

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