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possible war crimes

Germany intercepts Russian radio comms in which soldiers discuss Ukraine killings

Germany has reportedly intercepted Russian military communications in which Russian soldiers can be heard discussing killings outside of Kyiv, possibly "bolstering evidence" that Moscow was behind the gruesome massacre in the suburb of Bucha, Bloomberg reports Thursday.

News of the intelligence — acquired by Germany's foreign intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) — was first reported by German magazine Der Spiegel, which claims some of the intercepted traffic can be "directly linked" to certain photographs out of the Kyiv suburb. 

The communications also suggest the suburban killings were "not an act by rogue forces, but may have been part of a deliberate strategy to foment terror," Bloomberg writes per Spiegel.

Russia has denied responsibility for the civilian deaths in Bucha and has claimed, without evidence, that the photos of the atrocities were staged when Kremlin forces left the town.

In the transmissions, Russian soldiers can reportedly be heard discussing how they interrogate then shoot both soldiers as well as civilians, The Washington Post notes. The BND also apparently matched the location of bodies found in Bucha with soldiers' comments.

Furthermore, the German-acquired intelligence suggests "mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a private Russian military company, may have been involved in the atrocities," Bloomberg writes according to Spiegel. The same group is known to have committed similar transgressions in Syria, per Spiegel.

Additionally, Germany has said it has satellite images linking Russia to the Bucha killings.

Officials also got a hold of communications that were unable to be localized, "raising fears that atrocities could have been committed elsewhere and there were some indications of chatter out of Mariupol," Bloomberg writes. Read more at Der Spiegel and Bloomberg.