TWO Russian ambassadors have allegedly been caught on tape joking about annexing Scotland.
A conversation purportedly between the Kremlin's men in Eritrea and Zimbabwe has emerged on the internet.
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Ambassadors Igor Chubarov and Sergei Bakharev - in an expletive-laden discussion that has not been authenticated - were recorded laughing about which territories they should annex after Crimea.
Between chuckles and swear words, Mr Chubarov, who represents Russia in the relatively new African state of Eritrea, purportedly said: "What we are saying to the EU envoys is this: 'Guys, we have taken Crimea.
"But that is not the end. In the future we'll take, screw it, your Catalonia and your Venice and then Scotland with Alaska'."
However, instead of using the normal Russian word for Scotland - "Shotlandiya" - Mr Chubarov said "Skotlandiya", derived from the word Skot, which means beast or cattle and is pejorative. Whoever leaked the recording translated Skotlandiya as "Cattleland".
Mr Chubarov was allegedly echoing Kremlin accusations that the West was being hypocritical over Crimea's recent reunification referendum.
Russian officials have equated the vote with those planned for both Scotland and Catalonia later this year and the ballot held in Venice earlier this month. The comparison has been rejected in the West.
Mr Chubarov, according to the tape, also joked Russia would eventually annex other parts of the former Soviet Union and eastern bloc, but Mr Bakharev, ambassador to Zimbabwe, suggests Miami - which has a substantial Russian minority - instead.
"Exactly, Miamiland is 95% Russian," Mr Chubarov said. "We have a full right to hold a referendum." The pair then burst in to laughter as they joked of a vote among the Russians of London.
Kremlin officials last night laughed off the leak, which appears to be a tit-for-tat response to the internet publication of intercepted phone calls that proved embarrassing to Western leaders over the Crimea crisis.