Embattled Secretary of State John Kerry has been secretly recorded revealing that the United States has “taped conversations” that prove the Russian government in Moscow is giving orders to a network of spies and operatives in Ukraine, The Daily Beast
The new revelation comes just as an embarrassed Kerry is still reeling from the backlash over the controversial comments he made that Israel could turn into an “apartheid state” if it doesn't reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.
His latest remarks were also recorded at a private meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington last week. The Beast said it had obtained a recording of his statement.
Kerry reportedly said, “Intel is producing taped conversations of intelligence operatives taking their orders from Moscow and everybody can tell the difference in the accents, in the idioms, in the language.
“We know exactly who’s giving those orders, we know where they are coming from.”
Kerry claimed that the intercepted phone conversation show that Russia has been deliberately creating uprisings and chaos in eastern Ukraine despite Moscow’s denials.
“It’s not an accident that you have some of the same people identified who were in Crimea and in Georgia and who are now in east Ukraine,” said Kerry, according to The Daily Beast.
“This is insulting to everybody’s intelligence, let alone to our notions about how we ought to be behaving in the 21st century. It’s thuggism. It’s rogue state-ism. It’s the worst order of behavior.”
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea, there have been a series of apparently organized riots and government building takeovers in eastern Ukraine. Last week Kerry claimed that Russian intelligence officers were the “catalyst” behind the unrest.
He also accused the Russians of using propaganda to hide what he said he was actually attempting to do -- destabilize that region and undermine next month's planned Ukrainian elections.
The Daily Beast
, which also obtained the recording of Kerry’s “apartheid state” remark, claimed that if his comments about the intercepted phone conversations are correct then the National Security Agency and the U.S. armed forces are successfully spying on Russian military communications.
In the recording, Kerry also revealed that the U.S. was planning more extensive economic sanctions against Russian if President Vladimir Putin gives the go-ahead for a full-blown invasion of eastern Ukraine.
“I’m not convinced he’s made the decision to cross the line with his troops because then it’s absolutely no question that its full force sector sanctions, energy, banking, finance, technology, arms, you name it, they are all on the table,” Kerry told the commission, a group of world leaders and officials who meet to discuss vital global issues such as the Palestinian- Israeli peace talks.
“We are trying to find a way to do sector sanctions so it is minimal negative impact on Europe and Canada and the U.S., but maximum impact on Russia. We believe there is a way to do sector sanctions with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.”
Kerry also said that Putin has come under pressure from his close aides and wealthy and powerful friends to show more restraint in Ukraine.
“There’s a hardcore group around President Putin…and they are pushing him forward, and then you’ve got a group of economic people that are urging caution,” said Kerry. ““Already I know that people close to him aren’t happy.”
And he noted that the Chinese are particularly concerned about Putin’s acts of aggression.
“The Chinese are very nervous about what Russia is doing. We have talked to the Chinese about it. There are obvious reasons that China is concerned about it.”
The secretary of state also had harsh words for his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying that he had lied to him about Russian’s interest in De-escalating the crisis.
“Right now there is not a negotiation,” Kerry said. “There is a confrontation. I’m sad to report I’ve never seen such a complete, miserable, unaccountable, disgraceful walk away from a set of promises and understandings than what has taken place.”
“I’ve had six conversations with Lavrov in the last weeks. The last one was Kafka-esque, it was other planet, it was just bizarre. Nobody is better at telling you that red is blue and black is white… That’s what we are dealing with.”
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