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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Liveblog Day 153
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Separatist Leader Confirms Audio Tape Authenticity, But Denies He Meant Malaysian Plane
3 years
Pro-Russian Separatists Seize Bodies of MH17 Victims
Geolocating The Video Of The 'Buk Headed Toward Russia'

Igor Bezler, the GRU officer and commander of the separatists in Gorlovka, known as Bes or "Demon," has admitted that the audio tape published by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) is from a conversation that did take place, but he says that the discussion was not about the Malaysian airliner shot down July 17, reported 18 July.

The Interpreter has translated an excerpt:

"We really did discuss over the telephone the searches for a plane, but those who think that we shot it down, have to pour the kefir out of their brains.

On the tape, it is clearly audible that the talk was about a plane in Enakievo. The Boeing fell in the area of Snezhnyoe. There are 100 kilometers between them, I don't have weapons capable of downing planes at such a distance."

The flight path of the Malaysian plane was over Enakievo and it crashed in Grabovo, which is roughly equidistant from either Torez or Snezhnoye, both towns controlled by separatists where the BUK anti-aircraft system has been spotted.

Another person who doubts the authenticity of the tape is Aleksandr Kofman, vice speaker of the parliament of the Union of People's Republics, the joint body of "Novorossiya," the putative nation created by the separatists. He says the tape is a montage of several conversations:

"The first conversation likely [was taped when] at the Chernukhino road block there was an SU shot down, they have already shot down a fair number. The second piece are when people saw the falling airplane and hurried to the site of the crash and found the '200s' [dead bodies]. But the second part of the conversation has no relationship to the first. This is visible to the naked eye. That is, it is an entirely clumsy collage, Kofman told Rossiya 24.

Rossiya 24 also produced an audio expert who pronounced the tape was made up of snippets of conversations -- something that was in fact already clear as the SBU presented the material as three distinct conversations in a YouTube video.

Bezler -- and -- don't seem to realize that by authenticating this conversation, they've also exposed how the separatist leadership reports to the Russian GRU -- Geranin is described as a colonel in Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, known commonly by its Russian initials "GRU". is a formerly independent news site whose editor-in-chief was recently fired and replaced by a pro-Kremlin manager, causing many of the journalists to resign.