Google Earth, which builds an accurate 3D representation of the planet through satellite images and aerial photography, does not constantly update its imagery.
The platform says its photos update once a month, but according to TechCult, but many area photos are around three years old due to various location, time and money constraints.
That would explain why Twitter is only just noticing how the photos for Mariupol are different, even though the eastern Ukraine city was one of the first cities to be attacked when Russia invaded in February 2022.
Mariupol is known as one of the areas which was particularly devastated by the war. Around 600 people died when a theatre which was being used as the city’s main bomb shelter was hit by Russian air strikes. The attack came even though the theatre’s set designer had painted the word ‘CHILDREN’ outside the building in a display obvious even to satellite imagery.
Following weeks of Intense fighting in the streets, the shelling of more civilian areas and a three month siege, Mariupol surrendered in May 2022.
Although numbers differ hugely, Ukrainian officials claimed last year that at least 20,000 civilians had been killed and more than 90% of Mariupol’s structures were damaged or destroyed.
Thousands of the remaining residents in Mariupol were sent to Russia with little or no choice, according to AP.
Since then, Russia has tried to wipe away any evidence of the attacks, using soldiers and builders to try and rebuild the city altogether. It allegedly wants to return the population to its original 425,000 by 2030.
But Google Earth’s update is a stark reminder of how brutally the city was battered last year – and Twitter was utterly heartbroken.