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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Phone Call Reportedly Shows Putin Pulls Strings of Separatists
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A leaked audio tape reportedly shows that the separatist commander in Slavyansk,  Igor Girkin AKA Igor Strelkov, ran many elements of his operation through a contact in the Kremlin, including the kidnapping of the OSCE military monitors who were released last week. Forbes reports:

Russia’s lie is exposed by tapped phone calls, obtained by the Ukraine Security Service (SBU), that took place on May 1 and 2 between Colonel Igor Girkin (alias Igor Strelkov), the military commander of the “People’s Republic of Donetsk,” and Putin’s special envoy, Vladimir Lukin.

In their calls, Lukin gives Girkin aka Strelkov his instructions about how to carry out this “thing.” Girkin a.k.a. Strelkov has no objections to this “thing” because he has already “been informed.” In their calls, Lukin refers to “verification from the highest levels.” As the President’s special envoy, I imagine this refers to Putin himself. It also appears that Girkin/Strelkov has to make calls to clear new “things” with higher-ups, such as admitting Council of Europe members along with Lukin.

Forbes also has the video, and a full translation, which can be read in full here. In several excerpts, Moscow's envoy, Vladimir Lukin, clearly encourages Strelkov/Girkin, and reminds him that "we are carrying out this 'thing' together."

Paul Roderick Gregory, who wrote the article, is highly confident that the audio is real:

I have personally met Lukin several times, and it would be difficult to imitate his voice and super-polite manner of speech. Their conversation rings like two acquaintances arranging a golf game.

Girkin/Streltsov’s voice is well known from You Tube (introducing to the local police their new boss whom he has named) and from his intercepted call with the self-appointed mayor of Slovyansk about the disposition of the body of the murdered local politician, Volodymir Rybak.