Russian envoys outline plan to 'take over world' in unauthenticated tape of leaked conversation
Crimea is just the start, warn ambassadors, in unauthenticated tape of leaked conversation
A recording has surfaced online purporting to be a leaked conversation between two Russian ambassadors discussing which parts of the world they would like to annex after Crimea.
The five-minute recording, laden with expletives, has been posted on YouTube and claims to be a telephone call between Igor Chubarov, Russia's ambassador to Eritrea, and Sergei Bakharev, the ambassador to Zimbabwe and Malawi. It has not been authenticated.
"We've got Crimea, but that's not f****** all folks. In the future we'll damn well take your Catalonia and Venice, and also Scotland and Alaska," says the voice labelled as Chubarov.
After this, Chubarov says Russia will make a move for "all those f****** border countries", such as Estonia, as well as Romania and Bulgaria. He adds that the head of the EU mission to Eritrea had jokingly said that he wished Russia would "take back" Romania and Bulgaria.
In the end, the ambassadors agree it is probably better to leave Bulgaria, Romania and the "Baltic s***"in the EU for now, and Bakharev says it would be more interesting to go for California or Miami.
"Exactly, Miamiland is f****** 95 per cent Russian citizens," says Chubarov. "We have a full right to hold a referendum."
Bakharev suggests holding one in "Londonland" as well, to laughter.
Chubarov congratulates Bakharev on the fact that Zimbabwe was one of only 11 countries, with Syria and North Korea, to back Russia at the UN over its annexation of Crimea.
There is also consternation that the "b*****ds" from Malawi did not support Moscow.
It is possible that the leaking of the recording is revenge for the recent spate of high-profile leaks of Western diplomatic discussions over Ukraine. A call between the US assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland, and the US ambassador in Kiev was leaked, in which Nuland discussed strategy for the leaders of the Ukrainian protest movement.
The reaction in Moscow to the African ambassadors' tape was one more of amusement than anger, especially given that the taped diplomats are significantly lower ranking than Nuland or Ashton.
Maria Zakharova, deputy spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, wrote on Facebook that she had no idea who was talking on the tape, but noted that the photograph appended to the YouTube video of Bakharev bore no resemblance to him.
Zakharova insinuated that the recording was clumsy US handiwork and compared it to the incident during the "reset" of relations between Russia and the US, when the then secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, presented the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, with a button that was meant to say "reset", but got the Russian word wrong and said "overload" instead.