In response to Russian claims that Ukrainian forces were targeting President Vladimir Putin's plane, officials have released the audio and transcript of intercepted telephone calls between Russian separatists reporting the crash.
Kyiv Post reports:
One phone call apparently was made at 4:40 p.m. Kyiv time, or 20 minutes after the plane crash, by Igor Bezler, who the SBU says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. He reports to a person identified by Ukraine’s SBU as a colonel in the main intelligence department of the general headquarters of the armed forces of the Russian Federation Vasili Geranin regarding the shot down plane, which is about to be examined by the militants.
The second intercepted conversation released by the Security Service of Ukraine was apparently between militants nicknamed “Major” and “Greek” immediately upon inspection of the crash site.
“It’s 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft,” Major is recorded as saying, as he admitted to seeing no weapons on site. “Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.”
Read the full transcript of an intercepted phone call below:
Igor Bezler: We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast).
Vasili Geranin: Pilots. Where are the pilots?
IB: Gone to search for and photograph the plane. Its smoking.
VG: How many minutes ago?
IB: About 30 minutes ago.
SBU comment: After examining the site of the plane the terrorists come to the conclusion that they have shot down a civilian plane. The next part of the conversation took place about 40 minutes later.
“Major”: These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.
“Grek”: 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.
There is more information at the Kyiv Post site, but it is loading very slowly right now. Be patient if you visit.
The separatists bragged back in June that they had secured a BUK missile, which is capable of hitting targets up to 72,000 feet in the air.
US intelligence is now confirming that a surface-to-air missile was fired at the jetliner, according to the Wall Street Journal Breaking News Twitter account.
U.S. intelligence confirms surface-to-air missile fired at Malaysian jet but are divided over origin. http://t.co/ERuwcHcGLt
— WSJ Breaking News (@WSJbreakingnews) July 17, 2014