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What the Ukraine tapes say

The following are unverified transcripts of purported phone conversations between three sets of pro-Russia rebels. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which is opposed to the rebels, claimed it intercepted the conversations, the transcripts of which were posted by Ukraine’s Kyiv Post newspaper

Purported conversation between Igor Bezler, who according to the SBU is a Russian intelligence officer and commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and Vasili Geranin, apparently a Russian colonel who serves as an intelligence officer

July 17, 2014

4.21PM

The time when Flight MH-17’s last location was tracked

4.40PM

Bezler: We have just shot down a plane. That was Miner’s group. It fell down outside Enakievo (in Donetsk Oblast or province where the wreckage was eventually found)

Geranin: Pilots? Where are the pilots?

Bezler: Set off to search for the shot down plane and take pictures of it.

A plume of smoke is visible….

Geranin: How many minutes ago?

Bezler: About 30 minutes ago

(SBU comment: Having inspected the scene of the crash, the terrorists came to the conclusion that they had shot down a civilian aircraft.)

The following conversation took place

40 minutes later between two separatists identified as “Major” and “Grek”

5.20PM

Major: These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point, those Cossacks who are based in near Chernukhino

Grek: Yes, Major

Major: The plane broke into pieces in the air, close to Petropavlovskaya mine. There is the first two-hundredth (dead), we have found the first two hundredth. It’s a civilian

Grek: How are things going there?

Major: Well, we are 100 per cent sure that it was a civilian plane

Grek: Are there a lot of people?

Major: F***! The debris was falling straight into the yards

Grek: What plane is that?

Major: I haven’t figured out yet. I haven’t got close to

the main wreckage. Now I am nearby the place where the first bodies started falling. There are remnants of internal brackets, chairs, bodies….

Grek: Are there any weapons?

Major: Nothing at all. Civilian belongings, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper….

Grek: Are there any documents?

Major: Yes. One belonging to a student from Indonesia. From Thompson University.

The paper also posted a third conversation between Nikolay Kozitsyn, a Cossack commander, and an unidentified militant

5.42PM

Militant: As to this plane shot down nearby Snezhnoye-Torez. This turned out to be a passenger one. It fell down outside Grabovo, there is a whole lot of bodies of women and children. Cossacks are now looking around there. And on TV they say like it is a Ukrainian AN-26, a transport plane. But the writing says “Malaysian

Airlines”. What was it doing over the territory of Ukraine?

Kozitsyn: Well then it was bringing spies.

Why the hell were they flying? This is war going on.

WHO’S ‘DEMON’?

Name: Igor Bezler

Assumed name: Bes, which in Russian sounds like the first syllable of his last name, but also means demon

Status: Militia leader in the eastern Ukranian town of Gorlovka

Appearance: Blue eyes. Sings the national anthem of the Soviet Union every morning and usually goes to bed around 10.30pm

Alleged deeds: Several assassinations are believed to have happened under Bezler’s watch

Early days: Born in 1965 in Crimea and studied in

Russia. Served in the Russian military but moved back to Ukraine in 2003

Rumours: Bezler does not get along with other militia leaders. He has had street battles with the Vostok Battalion, a notorious and battle-hardened Russian unit formed by a Chechen warlord. But rebels have denied the rumours