In a phone call leaked to the press on Wednesday, two high-ranking European diplomats discussed whether the notorious Maidan snipers that killed several protesters might have been hired by the new leaders of Ukraine.
European Union Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet spoke over the phone about the latter’s concerns that the sniper killings were not ordered by members of Viktor Yanukovych’s regime, but were ordered by the leaders of the Maidan protests.
“So that there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet told Ashton in the leaked call that was first posted on YouTube. The call was presumably recorded and disseminated by Russian spies.
Paet made his assertion based on evidence he supposedly received from a doctor on the ground, identified only as “Olga.”
“What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” Paet commented in the phone call, whose authenticity was confirmed by the Estonian foreign ministry.
The Estonian official also added that he is “disturbed” by the fact that the current government in Ukraine shows no interest in investigating the conspiracy theory.
“So [Olga] also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can say it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,” Paet said.
Ashton acted taken back by Paet’s assertion and indicated that she would want an investigation to determine who ordered the snipers to start firing on protesters.
“I think we do want to investigate. I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” the EU Foreign Affairs chief responded.
This is the second leaked phone call between diplomats discussing the Ukrainian crisis that has generated media controversy. Last month, two US officials discussed their frustration with the EU’s involvement in Ukraine, which prompted US State Department official Victoria Nuland to declare “Fuck the EU.”
The call was leaked a day after Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed the Maidan sniper were “provocateurs” working for the leaders of the protest movement.
When asked about the tape, an American state department spokesman said it “was another example of the kind of Russian statecraft that we have concerns about.”