Cold War telephone eavesdropping continues

  • 2014-03-06
  • From wire reports, TALLINN

Estonian Riigikogu foreign committee chairman Marko Mihkelson said on March 5 that the phone call recording between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton that was leaked to YouTube this week was the third phone call that Russian special services have secretly recorded and made public recently, reports Public Broadcasting.

Mihkelson said at the Riigikogu session that there was a similar case in the summer where Lithuanian diplomats discussed Eastern partnership politics; the second case was at the beginning of February when U.S. diplomats discussed the situation in Ukraine and now the third phone call that was leaked was that between Paet and Ashton.

"First, we have to seriously think what it means, at what time we are living; is it the Cold War or something else that Russia is forcing upon the Western world," said Mihkelson.

Mihkelson said that Paet spoke in the phone conversation of what he heard in Kiev. "In that phone call, Paet is not speaking of his own positions," Mihkeson said.

The Riigikogu foreign committee chairman stressed also that the primary concern is how such information was leaked and what protected information really is in the sort of diplomatic relations that we are used to with our Western neighbors.

A phone call recording was leaked to YouTube on Wednesday where Foreign Minister Paet speaks of his recent visit to Ukraine with Ashton, where Paet notes that the snipers who killed people in Kiev could have been commissioned by the new coalition. Paet cites in the phone call, that took place on Feb. 26, citizen activist Olga Bogomolets, who told Paet that the same snipers shot in Maidan both the Ukrainian police forces and rebels.

"Olga said that all evidence suggests that the snipers who shot the policemen and people were the same," said Paet. "She showed me photos also and said that as a medical expert, she can say that it is the same signature."

"It is very disturbing that the new coalition doesn’t want to investigate what exactly happened," Paet said. "There is a stronger and stronger understanding that Yanukovich wasn’t behind the snipers, that it was someone from the new coalition."

Ashton answered that it should definitely be investigated.

Paet said on Wednesday that the phone call was authentic and took place on Feb. 26 after his visit to Ukraine and right after the street violence ended. He said that he reported what he had been told at the meetings the day before in Kiev and expressed concern over the situation.

"It is extremely regrettable that such an eavesdropping took place at all," said Paet. "This call being uploaded today is not a coincidence either," he added.