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Google denies reports it has been changing images of Russian military sites in maps after war in Ukraine

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APTOPIX Russia Ukraine (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
APTOPIX Russia Ukraine (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Google has denied that it has been making satellite imagery of military sites available after the war in Ukraine.

In recent days, a number of reports – many of them coming from Ukraine – claimed that Russia had removed the blurring from sensitive military sites in Russia.

Many suggested that Google had opened up the images in an attempt to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia. People now be able to help find Russian installations from home, for instance, many of the posts said.

A tweet from the “Armed Forces Ukraine” account, which has been boosted by official Ukrainian accounts, shared one such post.

“Now everyone can see a variety of Russian launchers, intercontinental ballistic missile mines, command posts and secret landfills with a resolution of about 0.5 meters per pixel,” the account wrote.

Those posts became hugely popular, as people celebrated what they thought was Google helping people fight against Russia’s invasion of the country.

But Google has now said that it has not changed the blurring of its satellite imagery – and that those sites were visible before the latest outbreak of fighting.

“Please note that we haven’t made any blurring changes to our satellite imagery in Russia,” the company tweeted, in response to a popular post that claimed to show the changes.

In other countries, Google does blur military sites. Some French Air Force bases are hidden on the site, for example.

But some important military bases and other sensitive areas remain visible. Area 51 can be seen on the company’s satellite images, for instance.

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