State department’s diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, apparently said ‘Fuck the EU’ in conversation over Ukraine crisis
V. Nuland, meeting the Ukrainian president, V. Yanukovych
America’s new top diplomat for Europe seems to have been caught being decidedly undiplomatic about her EU allies in a phone call apparently intercepted and leaked by Russia.
“Fuck the EU” Victoria Nuland apparently says in a recent phone call with the US ambassador to Kiev, Geoff Pyatt, as they discuss the next moves to try to resolve the crisis in Ukraine amid weeks of pro-democracy protests which have rocked the country. The call appears to have been intercepted and released on YouTube, accompanied by Russian captions of the private and candid conversation.
Although the US state department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, White House spokesman Jay Carney alleged that because it had been “tweeted out by the Russian government, it says something about Russia’s role”.
It was impossible to immediately verify the undated post, although the woman speaking sounds like Nuland, who served as the state department’s spokeswoman before becoming assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs last year.
Nuland and Pyatt appear to discuss the upheavals in Ukraine, and President Viktor Yanukovych’s offer last month to make opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk the new prime minister and Vitali Klitschko deputy prime minister. Both men turned the offer down.
Nuland, who in December went to Independence Square in Kiev in a sign of support for the demonstrators, adds that she has also been told that the UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, is about to appoint a former Dutch ambassador to Kiev, Robert Serry, as his representative to Ukraine.
“That would be great I think to help glue this thing and have the UN glue it and you know, fuck the EU,” she says, in an apparent reference to differences over their policies.
“We’ve got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it,” Pyatt replies.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Nuland “has been in contact with her EU counterparts and of course has apologized for these reported comments”.
She said that if the Russians were responsible for listening to, recording and posting a private diplomatic telephone conversation, it would be “a new low in Russian tradecraft.”
Pressed on whether the call was authentic, Psaki said: “I didn’t say it was inauthentic.”
Carney refused to discuss any details of the call, saying “we do not discuss private conversations“.
“Assistant Secretary Nuland has been in contact with her EU counterparts and relations with the EU are stronger than ever,” he added.
Nuland was in Kiev on Thursday for a meeting with Yanukovych, who told her that he wanted to quickly adopt constitutional changes called for by pro-Western demonstrators.