Russia has publicly asserted that the hostage taking was a purely local matter, over which they have no influence or control.
Russia’s lie is exposed by tapped phone calls, obtained by the Ukraine Security Service (SBU), that took place on May 1 and 2 between Colonel Igor Girkin (alias Igor Strelkov), the military commander of the “People’s Republic of Donetsk,” and Putin’s special envoy, Vladimir Lukin.
In their calls, Lukin gives Girkin aka Strelkov his instructions about how to carry out this “thing.” Girkin a.k.a. Strelkov has no objections to this “thing” because he has already “been informed.” In their calls, Lukin refers to “verification from the highest levels.” As the President’s special envoy, I imagine this refers to Putin himself. . . .
Conversation between Lukin and Girkin/Strelkov, May 1 evening
Mirza: Hello, Good day. I am calling on behalf of Lukin. He asked me to tell you that we are flying tomorrow from Moscow at 10 a.m. plus-or-minus.
Girkin/Strelkov: Who will be coming?
Mirza: Lukin, Mirzha, Kozokhin.
Girkin/Strelkov: So, I’ll pass along these names. What should I say?
Mirza: Say that we are flying in tomorrow. All further details are known. Everybody is informed.
Conversation between Lukin and Girkin/Strelkov, May 2, 10:59 a.m.
Lukin: Excuse me. This is Vladimir Petrovich [Lukin]. I have arrived here as we have agreed upon. Greetings Igor Ivanovich [Girkin/Strelkov]. We have agreed to meet. I am in Donetsk right now in good company. And if I may I’d like to ask you two questions.
Girkin/Strelkov: Go ahead.
Lukin: First how “warm” is it at your place and can we talk? You do have a general idea about the “thing” I have been assigned to do, don’t you?
Girkin/Strelkov: Yes I know. I have been informed.
Lukin: You do not have any objections about this “thing,” do you? The job is to carry out this “thing.” The representatives, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, will be in Donetsk today. We are carrying out this “thing” together.
Girkin/Strelkov: I have no objections for one simple reason. All this has already been discussed with me.
Lukin: Very good, then we have to figure out how to get there to carry out this “thing?” So let me call you a little later.
Girkin/Strelkov: Call me, call, but I had instruction to assist you and not the European partners.
Lukin: Yes I understand. The problem is, well, we have to keep working on this matter together to carry out this “thing.”
Girkin/Strelkov: Keep working on it. I must manage the defense [of Slovyansk].
Conversation between Lukin with Girkin/Strelkov, May 2, 5:04 p.m.
Girkin/Strelkov: I am listening Vladimir Petrovich [Lukin].
Lukin: Forgive me that I have to interrupt you all the time.
Girkin/Strelkov: No bother.
Lukin: So Igor Ivanovich [Girkin/Strelkov] the problem is the following. When is it convenient to arrive? OSCE provides the transportation. I’ll be in the first car. And we will be carrying out this “thing” once we are allowed to pass. There seems to be an order to let us pass, but it is being verified at the highest level. What is better: In a few hours or if we arrive tomorrow morning say 5-7?
Girkin/Strelkov: For me it is more convenient if you come in the morning for one simple reason. After you leave, the fighting will resume.
Lukin: I see. So you think morning is better. Yes. Okay It is agreed. So we’ll call sometime near 7 a.m.
Girkin/Strelkov; Yes, call me when you near the city so I can instruct the blockade to let you in.
I am convinced the recorded calls are authentic. I have personally met Lukin several times, and it would be difficult to imitate his voice and super-polite manner of speech. Their conversation rings like two acquaintances arranging a golf game.