The barbaric atrocities at Bucha were part of a deliberate Kremlin strategy carried out in part by the feared Wagner Group of mercenaries, intercepted Russian radio transmissions have revealed.
Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, has heard messages from Putin’s forces discussing the brutal murder of civilians in the city of horrors outside Kyiv, which was recaptured by Ukraine over the weekend.
The transmissions have been linked to specific corpses seen in Bucha, with one soldier talking about how he and his colleagues shot dead someone on a bicycle, while another said: ‘First question soldiers, then shoot them.’
The audio messages have been relayed to German parliament by the BND to further debunk baseless Kremlin claims that the bodies were staged by Ukraine after Russia withdrew from the city in a ‘monstrous forgery’, Spiegel reported.
The wiretap recordings also show that the Wagner Group was present in the city and played ‘a key role’ in the massacre, and that there are likely similar scenes of slaughter elsewhere in the country. …
The BND told German leaders this shows how the killings were normalised and part of a deliberate strategy intended to sow fear and terror among the civilian population. …
The Wagner Group:
The shadowy military company which has been linked to a string of killings, rapes and war crimes around the world is known as Putin’s private army which carries out his dirty work at an arm’s length from the state. … The mercenary group is considered to be at the beck and call of Putin to carry out his dirty work.
The army-for-hire, allegedly run by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin — a close ally of the Russian president who is often dubbed ‘Putin’s chef’ — was flown into Ukraine several weeks ago and offered a huge sum for the mission.
British intelligence sources said last week it had been deployed to the Donbas after Russia’s army sustained heavy losses. An estimated 1,000 mercenaries and senior commanders are thought to be in the country. …
Initially, it was made up of only a few hundred Russian army veterans. They were ordered to assassinate Donbas leaders who were broadly supportive of Russia, but refused to follow instructions from the Kremlin. These assassinations were then blamed on Ukrainian forces, according to security experts.
Wagner’s founder and leader is Dmitry Utkin, a shaven-headed former lieutenant colonel in Spetsnaz — Russia’s special forces. .. Utkin is seen as a neo-Nazi and was described by one Russian newspaper as having ‘an appreciation of the aesthetic of the Third Reich’, complete with tattoos of the Waffen-SS on his shoulder and an eagle on his chest.
Maybe. So the latest turn in the narrative is that the Wagner Group — who really exist, really are a bunch of Nazi-like thugs, and really have a rough reputation in Africa and Syria — committed atrocities. The narrative asserts that the Russian military command decided, that rather than use these expensive mercenaries to fight Ukrainian soldiers, they would set them loose on Ukrainian citizens under Russian control in order “to sow fear and terror among the civilian population.” Is that really the best use for your best soldiers?
This would also appear to contradict Russia’s publicly-stated aims, which were to (1) to re-unite with their Ukrainian brothers, who are cultural and historically close, and (2) de-Nazify Ukraine. Why would their brothers need terrorizing? Why terrorize people who are already under Russian control? And why employ a bunch of Nazis? Surely using Nazi thugs to terrorize a bunch of neighbors you are trying to win over would be rather counterproductive? The narrative seems confused to me.
The Russian case that they are basically innocent (see Are we being hustled into war with Russia by another hoax?) still holds up, unaffected by this latest.
Note that the two “proofs” of atrocities by Russian soldiers both come from Western intelligence — satellite photos and radio intercepts. How easy would it be to changes dates and fake recordings? This is the same western intelligence community that tried to tell us for three years that Trump was a Russian agent — but their Russian hoax turned out to be completely made up.
There is a long, long history of countries telling lies at precisely this point — when they are about to step up military action and need to create an excuse for public consumption.
Color me skeptical.
UPDATE: A reader adds:
The public relations downside of this for Russia is so enormous that I can’t imagine the mercenaries weren’t under the strictest orders not to do such things. Note too that the Russians immediately called for a UN investigation and that that was blocked by the British.
Recall also the obvious or semi-obvious stories from the last few years that don’t quite make sense as presented by the western side: the Skripals (so close to Porton Down!), the chemical attack in Syria, and now this. So I just don’t know. What I do know is that the western media lies non-stop about just about everything.
I just spoke to an ex military friend who came back to the UK from the Ukraine yesterday. He says the Russians are suffering a lot of equipment losses at the hands of western-supplied missiles, especially the Lockheed Martin UK-manufactured Javelin missiles. His view is that they have bitten off more than they can chew. Again, who knows.