The Ukrainian security agency SBU has released transcripts of intercepted phone calls, purportedly between Russian military intelligence officers and members of a pro-Russian separatist group, made in the immediate aftermath of the shooting down of the Malaysian Airways jet over eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
The transcripts, which were published by the Kiev Post, appear to capture the moments when the rebels realized that they had shot down a civilian passenger plane, rather than one of the Ukrainian military transport planes they have been targeting in recent weeks.
The first call was made at 4:40 P.M. Kiev time, or 20 minutes after the plane crash, by Igor Bezler, who the SBU identifies as a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
“We have shot down a plane,” Bezler says to Vasili Geranin, who the SBU says is a colonel in the main intelligence department of the general headquarters of the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
“How many minutes ago?” Geranin asks.
“About 30 minutes ago,” Bezler replies
The second intercepted conversation was apparently between a militant nicknamed “Major” who was inspecting the site of the crash, and another nicknamed “Greek.”
Major: These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.
Greek: Yes, Major.
Major: The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first “200” (code word for dead person). We have found the first “200”. A civilian.
Greek: Well, what do you have there?
Major: In short, it was 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft.
Greek: Are many people there?
Major: Holy shit! The debris fell right into the yards (of homes).
Greek: What kind of aircraft?
Major: I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main site. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.
Greek: Is there anything left of the weapon?
Major: Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.
Greek: Are there documents?
Major: Yes, of one Indonesian student. From a university in Thompson.
In the third conversation, about 40 minutes after the second, the SBU identifies Nikolay Kozitsin, who it says is a “Cossack commander,” talking to an unidentified militant.
Militant: Regarding the plane shot down in the area of Snizhne-Torez. It’s a civilian one. Fell down near Grabove. There are lots of corpses of women and children. The Cossacks are out there looking at all this. They say on TV that it’s AN-26 transport plane, but they say it’s written Malaysia Airlines on the plane. What was it doing on Ukraine’s territory?
Kozitsin: That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be fucking flying. There is a war going on.
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