A bright flash seen over Kyiv was probably a meteorite, Ukraine’s space agency said Thursday after officials denied it was a satellite or a Russian missile attack. The flash was spotted on Wednesday, and the head of Kyiv’s military administration had said it was caused by a NASA satellite returning to Earth, but the US space agency has now denied this was the case.
Flash Over Kyiv Probably Meteorite
Ukrainian social media has been awash with theories and memes after videos showed a powerful flash lighting up the sky over the capital. Earlier this week, NASA announced that the spacecraft RHESSI would re-enter the atmosphere on Wednesday. It expected most of the spacecraft to burn up in the re-entry, but some components were expected to survive, with the risk of harm to humans on Earth relatively low – one in 2,467.
The spacecraft re-entry was supposed to pass over parts of Europe, including Germany, but NASA’s Rob Margetta told the BBC that the orbit did not come close to Ukraine. It’s also possible that the re-entry happened in a different region of the planet, he added.
Speculations and jokes about an alien invasion have swept across the Ukrainian Internet after the flash was reported, with many suggesting that it had been caused by a falling satellite or meteorite. But the Kyiv military administration has said it’s a “speculation intended to calm the citizens” and does not consider Russia posing any threat to the city.
It is thought that Russia may be targeting the American-built Navstar satellite navigation system in its campaign against Ukraine, which uses its GPS. It is estimated that Russia aims at 30 satellites and has fired hundreds of drones against Ukrainian targets.
A new set of satellite images released by Maxar Technologies on March 8 and 9 show damage to civilian structures in Mariupol and the movements of armored vehicles elsewhere in the country. The company’s WorldView 2 and WorldView 3 satellites observed the area around Mariupol on March 8 and 9, showing severe damage to grocery stores, residential buildings, and other civilian structures.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has described his country as under attack from “Russian saboteurs.” The Ukrainian government has declared a state of emergency in 17 regions and is preparing for power outages in the capital. The European Union has offered Kyiv help, and Denmark and the Netherlands have jointly pledged to transfer 14 Leopard 2 tanks.
The Ukraine Air Force has urged people not to use its official symbols in memes.
On Wednesday, an air-raid warning was issued for the capital, Kyiv, after a bright flash was seen over the city. The head of the city’s military administration, Sergiy Popko, wrote on Telegram that it was likely a “falling satellite or meteorite.”
A similar situation occurred in Chelyabinsk, in the northern province of Tyumen. A piece of a meteorite broke through the ice in Cherbakul Lake, leaving a hole several meters (yards) wide.