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Ukraine Claims to Have Recording of Rebels Saying They Downed Plane

Published: July 19, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



  • The passenger aircraft crashed into Ukraine's restive east on Thursday, killing all 298 people on-board.
    Photo: NTV screenshot

Ukraine's Security Service released a series of what it claims to be intercepted phone conversations on Friday between rebel fighters and their commanders conferring about having shot down a civilian Malaysian airliner.

The passenger aircraft crashed into Ukraine's restive east on Thursday, killing all 298 people on-board. The plane, which had departed from Amsterdam and was en route to Kuala Lumpur, disappeared from radar screens at 5:20pm Moscow time. It had been traveling at an altitude of 10,000 meters.

Rebel leaders and Kiev authorities were quick to point fingers at each other.

In the first of what appear to be excerpts from three separate conversation released by the Security Service, a man identified as Russian separatist commander Igor Bezler reported to his commander that an airplane had been shot down, but few details were available at that point.

In the second conversation — which the Security Service said followed an inspection by separatists of the crash site — a caller identified only as "Major" said that the aircraft was shot down by a Cossack unit stationed at a checkpoint in the village of Chornukhyne, just northeast of the crash site.

The "Major" added that the first "200th" — Russian army slang for a military casualty — "has been found."

"A civilian," he added.

"In short, [expletive], it was 100 percent a civilian craft," the man said.

Asked by a second man in the recording — who was identified only as "Grek" ("Greek") — if many people had been hurt, the "Major" responded with a gloomy expletive, adding: "Debris fell right into backyards."

The "Greek" then asked whether any weapons had been found at the scene.

"Nothing at all," the "Major" responded. "Civilian things, medical stuff, towels, toilet paper."

In the third conversation, a man identified only as a "militant" said the downed aircraft had "turned out to be civilian."

"There is a sea of corpses there — women, children," he said. "Now the Cossacks are looking at all of that."

The militant wondered why a passenger airline would have been in Ukrainian airspace in the first place, saying: "On TV they're saying that it's a Ukraine AN-26, a transport plane. But the writing says Malaysian Airlines. What was it doing over the territory of Ukraine?"

His interlocutor at that point speculated that there may have been spies on board, and then lamented, "Why the hell were they flying? There is a war going on."

The St. Petersburg Times could not independently verify the authenticity of the recording.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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