Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C) signs a law on ratification of a treaty making Crimea part of Russia, during a ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow March 21, 2014, with Valentina Matviyenko (L), the speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament, the Federation Council, and Sergei Naryshkin (R), the speaker of parliament's lower house, the State Duma, attending the ceremony (Getty Images)
Unauthenticated audio of two Russian ambassadors joking about invading Western countries may signal that Kremlin officials have grown increasingly confident in their ongoing standoff with the U.S. over the annexation of Crimea.
The audio, which has not yet been confirmed as authentic, was leaked and posted this week to YouTube.
The audio supposedly features Igor Chubarov, Russia’s ambassador to Eritrea, and Sergei Bakharev, the ambassador to Zimbabwe and Malawi. The audio reveals two officials who sound fairly confident in Russia’s position in Crimea and Ukraine.
“We’ve got Crimea, but that’s not fu**ing all folks,” one speaker, the supposed Chubarov, said. “In the future we’ll damn well take your Catalonia and Venice, and also ‘Cattleland’ (Scotland), and Alaska.”
The call's "Chubarov" continued, suggesting at one point that Russia move quickly to annex the Baltic States, Romania and Bulgaria.
After that, "Chubarov" said, Russia should move in on the United States.
“We’ll kick their asses in the right direction — where they have to be,” he declared.
“It’ll [be] better for us to disturb ‘Californialand,’ or ‘Miamiland,’ that sort of ‘desolated’ regions,” the supposed Bukharev said.
“Miamiland is fu**ing 95 percent Russian citizens,” Chubarov said.
“We have a full right to hold a referendum,” Bakharev added.
Maria Zakharova, a deputy spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said in a statement that she doesn’t know who is speaking in the YouTube video, adding that the photo of “Bakharev” that appears in the video looks nothing like the actual Bakharev.
And much like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s infamous “reset button,” Zakharova added, the YouTube video could be a decent but clumsy effort by the U.S. government.
"It's like with the 'overload' button. They wanted to do something better than usual, but it turned out as it always does," wrote Zakharova.
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