Ukraine Government Tape Purports to Capture Russians and Rebels Talking Money, PR

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 25 2014 5:59 PM

Ukraine Government Tape Purports to Capture Russians and Rebels Talking Money, PR 

rtr3znpl
A pro-Russian rebel at the MH17 crash site.

REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Ukraine's SBU security service has released tapes of purported conversations between Ukrainian rebels and Russian officials, and BuzzFeed's Max Seddon—on the ground in Donetsk—has translated them. Caveat: "The new tapes could not be independently verified," Seddon writes, "though the content of some other conversations previously leaked by the SBU — some of which involve the same men — has been proven genuine."

If legit, the first of the tapes makes for a fascinating, almost absurd look into the details of a war operation. At one point, the alleged Russian official dictates to the alleged rebel official what he'd like a second rebel official to tell the press about Vladimir Putin—all at the behest, apparently, of a fourth person, a high-ranking figure in the Russian Orthodox church.

The man says that Strelkov should give an interview to make clear that his “commander-in-chief” is Putin to dispel notions of a split between the rebels on the ground and their ostensible patrons in Moscow. “‘At the present time I’m understandably not carrying out his direct orders, because I’m in a different country, but I have the utmost respect for him and believe him to be the most brilliant leader of modern times, thanks to whom Russia rose from its knees, and we all look at him with hope,’” the man says, putting words in Strelkov’s mouth.
Advertisement

Here's that tape (warning, not in English):

Other subjects discussed on the tapes include finances, military targets, and the downing of MH17. Read Seddon's piece here.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

  Slate Plus
Working
Nov. 27 2014 12:31 PM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 11 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked a helicopter paramedic about his workday.