Following denials by the Russian Federation that it had involvement in the Bucha mass killings, German intelligence has now revealed that they had intercepted radio transmissions of Russian soldiers, hearing discussions of them killing civilians in Bucha. This would be further evidence of war crimes against the Russian forces following massive findings that they were responsible for the summary executions.

The intercepted radio communications were obtained by Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), and subsequently presented to the German parliament last Wednesday as per a report by the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, which broke the story on Thursday.

Note that it is completely plausible that the Russian military could have been vulnerable to intercepts as they have been communicating on unsecured lines, using smartphones with local sim cards, and VHF/UHF radios that could easily be jammed and intercepted. It was this carelessness that probably cost Russian Major General Vitaly Gerasimov his life as the Russians revealed his location through radio, making it possible for the Ukrainians to locate and kill him.

Ukrainian man shot dead while riding his bike (Dmytro Kuleba). Source:
Ukrainian man shot dead while riding his bike (Dmytro Kuleba/Twitter)

An intelligence official revealed that they heard the Russian forces casually discussing how they questioned soldiers and civilians, then subsequently shot them. It could also be heard that the soldiers were talking about how they killed someone who was riding their bicycle. These killings are being increasingly documented by independent journalists and news agencies.

The official only spoke to the news outlet on the condition of anonymity. However, the legitimacy of the report stands as it was confirmed by three other people who were familiar with the information. It is important to note that while some recordings could be linked to Bucha’s mass killings, it could also be the case that the Russians were talking about killings in other areas in Ukraine. It was reported that civilian targeting was widespread.

It was also confirmed through the radio intercept that members of the Wagner Group were operating in Bucha during the time the town was under Russian control. According to intelligence officials, they had also played a vital role in killing civilians. The Wagner Group, a neo-Nazi Russian mercenary organization, is closely linked to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin (who is reported to own the group) and Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. The group has often been dubbed “Putin’s Private Army.”

There have been reports that Russian units comprised of Wagner Group, The FSB, and the Ministry of the Interior operate behind Russian lines rounding up Russian deserters and either arresting or shooting them on the spot.

“What we have seen in Bucha is not the random act of a rogue unit. It’s a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities,” Blinken told reporters last Tuesday. “The reports are more than credible. The evidence is there for the world to see.”