The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has released a new signals intelligence (SIGINT) intercept on its YouTube page (link here; see a follow-up report in the Kyiv daily Ukrayinska Pravda here) that it says demonstrates that Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk area are targeting civilians. As Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security Council, explained today, the conversation provides evidence that the “terrorists” tried to lay blame for a shelling incident at Stepove on 15 August on Ukrainian forces, with the help of the Russian media.
The SBU intercept is a conversation between “Vovk” (Wolf), the deputy chief of state security for the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Korsa,” a female forward artillery observer for a unit of “Grad” 122mm multiple rocket launchers, the weapons that caused civilian casualties at Stepove.
Korsa: How could you hit Stepove?
Vovk: Where is it?
Korsa: It is near Berezove. I gave you position data.
Vovk: I do not know how we could hit it. Are there civilians in Stepove?
Korsa: Yes, there are civilians there. Three of our houses were hit. Little children were in one of the houses. Damn, I am feeling sick.
Vovk: You know what you need? I just got home, poured 150 (grams of vodka) and fucking drank it. Otherwise these things just drive me crazy.
Korsa: 150? I’ll pour today as well.
Vovk: Right. Because the nerves are shot.
The SBU intercepted another conversation between Vovk and Korsa five hours later.
Korsa: Today they made a mistake in coordinates of roughly one minute, they claim. But I gave a range in seconds (i.e. coordinates).
Vovk: The fact remains the fact. Ok, nobody knows about it. The information has been thrown out there that it was the Ukrops (derogatory term for Ukrainian forces) who hit the civilians. I can tell you that nobody is secured here. It’s been done before. This is war.