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The "Shield" effect: What video surveillance of the enemy means for the borderlands of Ukraine?

At the beginning of April, the Ukrainian Armed Forces liberated the north of Ukraine from the hordes of russian invaders. However, the military threat from this direction has not disappeared anywhere. Are there ways to protect yourself from hostile “surprises” and instantly react to the aggressive actions of the enemy?

Territorial communities of the Sumy region, local military units, and concerned citizens proposed their solution. On the northeastern border, they are building a network of video surveillance and reconnaissance data analysis “Shield/Phantom”. Its creators want to expand this system to the entire Ukrainian-russian border. The “Come Back Alive” Foundation has also contributed to the support of this project.

500 km of the border

The Sumy region has more than 500 kilometers of border with russia. The region is in constant tension: there are periodic shelling from the russian army and attempts by saboteurs to break through. The first thing that is necessary for an adequate response to the threat is high-quality and operational monitoring.

Currently, about 400 kilometers of the Ukrainian-russian border in the Sumy region is covered by a network of video cameras with good resolution and night vision. Some of them are stationary, others are mobile, on towers based on trailers, with autonomous power, and with Internet access. Mobile towers are local know-how: the structure takes 20 minutes to install/deinstall, while the 20-meter tower allows the camera to see for many kilometers.

Installation of the observation tower near the Ukrainian-russian border

About 50 HIKVISION cameras are currently operating in the Sumy and partially in Kharkiv regions.

20 cameras were provided by the “Come Back Alive” fund. The rest was purchased, in particular, by the community of Shostka city in the Sumy region and residents of the Myrhorod district of the Poltava region, the agricultural enterprise “Komyshanske”, and LLC “Ukrspetssystems”.

One of the HIKVISION video cameras is being prepared for integration into the “Shield/Phantom” network.

What to expect from the shield

One of the authors of the project, Oleksiy Matyushenko (call sign “Atlant”) says:

“It’s not just about separate video surveillance cameras. This is an analytical system that makes it possible to monitor the situation and control any movements of the enemy at the borders in the Sumy and Kharkiv regions.”

Oleksiy Matyushenko (call sign “Atlant”)

Denys Dykyi, Hero of Ukraine, (call sign “Coach”) is the commander of one of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine involved in the project. He recalls that this idea became relevant on February 24, the first day of the full-scale russian invasion. And one of the tasks of “Shield” is to filter real data from disinformation.

Denys Dykyi (call sign “Coach”)

“These cameras make it possible to determine what and where the enemy is actually doing, and even to direct artillery on the target”

Denys Dykyi

“To confirm or disprove the panicked reports of “100 tanks and a million of Kadyrov’s people have crossed the border”, these cameras make it possible to determine what and where the enemy is actually doing, and even to target artillery or Ukrainian groups to destroy the enemy,” explains the project participant.

Denys Dykyi clarifies that this system makes it possible to analyze the situation in real-time around the clock from several hundred kilometers from the border.

Project participants explain in one voice that both the military and the government should see and understand the situation at the border in real-time. After all, the border communities continue to live under enemy shelling. Therefore, one of the goals of this initiative is to confirm that the combat operations in the border areas continue, and therefore to return the border communities to the competence of the Ministry of Reintegration.

Also, Ukrainian video surveillance on the border predicts some extremely unpleasant surprises for the enemy. However, we do not disclose them for reasons of national security.

Who has access to the video from the board

Project participants explain who will have access to the video surveillance system at the border:

  • Military personnel who are responsible for this line of defense and have undergone appropriate training,
  • Artillery and other specialized units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,
  • Local administrations,
  • Government structures,
  • Border guards,
  • Ukrainian law enforcement officers,
  • Security Service of Ukraine.

In fact, the system will transmit information to decision-making centers. Which, based on the received data, will understand how to act further.

Currently, the “Shield/Phantom” project extends to the Sumy and Kharkiv regions. The initiators continue to expand it to other border regions. The “Come Back Alive” Foundation also participates in this work.

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