Home International Germany says it intercepted Russian conversations on killing civilians in Bucha

Germany says it intercepted Russian conversations on killing civilians in Bucha

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Germany’s foreign intelligence service claims to have intercepted radio communications in which Russian soldiers discuss carrying out indiscriminate killings of civilians in Bucha.

Ukrainian soldiers walk next to destroyed Russian tanks and armoured vehicles, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 6, 2022. Picture: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

BERLIN – Germany’s foreign intelligence service claims to have intercepted radio communications in which Russian soldiers discuss carrying out indiscriminate killings of civilians in Bucha.

Scenes from the town, near the Ukrainian capital, have become a symbol of the war’s atrocities and galvanised calls for probes into possible war crimes. The findings, first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel and confirmed by three people briefed on the information, further undermine claims by Russia that the killings were carried out after its soldiers had left the Kyiv suburb.

The foreign intelligence agency, known as the BND, was able to match signal intelligence with videos and satellite images to make sense of specific killings, two people told The Washington Post.

In one radio communication, a soldier speaks of shooting someone off a bicycle, consistent with videos showing Russian tanks appearing to open fire on a cyclist, the two people said. The radio traffic is also said to indicate that members of the Wagner Group, the private military unit with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies, played a role in the attacks on civilians while Russian forces were in control of the town.

The BND on Wednesday briefed two parliamentary committees on the findings, according to people familiar with the process. One person said additional radio messages are likely to provide greater insight into similar atrocities in other towns north of Kyiv that had been held by Russian soldiers.

“The reported cruelties have affected the members of the respective committees where it was reported very strongly,” said one of the people briefed on the intelligence. Another person said the agency had high confidence in the findings, though it was not specific about how it obtained the radio communication.

The BND did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A government spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, made an elliptical reference Wednesday there were “credible indications” that Russian forces in Bucha were interrogating prisoners “who were subsequently executed”. He cited only “insights that we have”.

– THE WASHINGTON POST

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