Girkin inadvertently admits to war crime

As I have written before, one of the earliest hard evidence of Malofeev’s direct involvement in the invasion of Ukraine came from this phone call, intercepted by the SBU on April 14th 2014:

At 3:25 in the video, you can hear Girkin, then stationed in Slavyansk, report to his boss Malofeev how his team of scouts ambushed 3 cars of VIP passengers and slaughtered them, without knowing whom exactly they killed. His words are, literally: “We shot the guards and the persons traveling in the VIP cars…We had no losses on our side, not a single wounded one”.

Malofeev then instructs  Girkin to report the achievement to Aksenov, the fresh Russian-installed Prime Minister of Crimea. Girkin then proceeds to ask Malofeev whom exactly they have slaughtered, as he clearly had no clue of the identity of their targets. Malofeev explains that it was the leadership of the Alpha team of the Ukrainian ATO, and praises him for the job well done.

Today, Girkin effectively owned up to the story contained in that leaked call. In an interview published tonight on the Russian website, Girkin thanks the Providence for guiding his scout team him to accidentally stumble upon the elite Alpha team of Ukraine, without suffering a single wounded combatant.  Doubtless, he is recounting the same episode referenced in the call.

Not only does this admission give further credibility to SBU’s line of intercepted phone calls, which – other than sometimes being edited to exclude certain information –  have never proven to be faked. More importantly, it puts Girkin in hot legal water, as he effectively admits to a war crime. It is one thing to believe that you are at war, and to kill your enemies in battle. It is a completely different matter, at least according to international criminal law, to ambush VIP cars with passengers whose identity you have no concept of, and massacre everyone indiscriminately.

But most importantly, this is the latest example of Girkin becoming a liability to his handlers, by admitting to events that his co-conspirators – in this case, Malofeev – have made everything possible to pretend never happened.

The question is, when will the handlers decide to ambush the liability.


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