Russian troops talked about killing civilians in Bucha over the radio, Der Spiegel found.
The radio transmissions were obtained by German intelligence and presented in parliament Wednesday.
They contradict Russian claims that the atrocities found in the Ukrainian town were staged.
Germany intercepted radio transmissions of Russian soldiers discussing the killings of civilians in the town of Bucha, contradicting Russian propaganda claims of a hoax, according to a report by Der Spiegel.
The radio transmissions were obtained by the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, and presented to parliament on Wednesday, Der Spiegel reported.
In one of the recordings, a Russian soldier could be heard describing how he shot someone off their bicycle, Der Spiegel reported.
It is unclear what day the radio messages were sent and where the Russian troops were at the time.
Footage and images of people killed, with some on the street, in Bucha emerged earlier this week after Russian forces left the town.
On Tuesday, The New York Times published independently verified aerial footage that shows a Russian armored vehicle shooting at a civilian on a bicycle in Bucha. It is unclear whether the person in the video was the same as the one referred to in the radio messages.
The audio recordings also suggest that the Russian mercenary military, the Wagner Group, played a key role in the atrocities in Bucha, Der Spiegel reported.
It is not entirely clear who runs or finances the Wagner Group, but the US and European Union have linked Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to the organization.
The group has been tied to Russian separatists in the pro-Kremlin Donbas region since 2014, as well as accused of committing war crimes and human-rights abuses in Syria in 2015.
Western intelligence said last month that as many as 1,000 of the group’s mercenaries were being deployed to eastern Ukraine.
Russia has denied responsibility for the atrocities in Bucha, claiming without evidence that the footage coming out of Bucha is staged or otherwise manipulated.
On Tuesday, the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti ran an opinion column that speculated the killings were a ploy by Western nations to impose further sanctions on Russia.
This timeline undermines Russia’s claim that the Bucha killings were a Ukrainian hoax.
The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine tweeted the Spiegel report on Thursday, writing: “Radio intercepts by the German Intelligence, show that the massacre of civilians in Bucha was not accidental or actions of rogue soldiers.”
[Source: Business Insider]