It appears as if yet another diplomatic embarrassment is on the cards for the US Foreign Service. This time around it’s an intercepted phone call between the top US diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, and the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, that’s been leaked on YouTube of all places.
The two are discussing the on-going political crisis in Ukraine and how it would be preferred to have the United Nations rather than the European Union step up to the plate and help “glue this thing together.”
”Because, you know. Fuck the EU,” Nuland says.
The conversation between the two diplomats is still available online, but there are those who believe it could be part of a hoax. It’s worth noting that the two don’t interrupt each other a single time, or try to talk over each other. This could imply that the conversation may have been doctored.
Still, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was pressed on the authenticity of the conversation: “I didn’t say it was inauthentic. She (Mrs Nuland) has been in contact with her EU counterparts and of course apologized.”
Psaki also pointed a finger towards the possible culprits who recorded the phone conversation and posted it online: “We think this is a new low in Russian trade craft in terms of publicizing, posting.”
Dmitry Loskutov, an aide to Russian deputy Prime Minister Dimitry Rogozin, tweeted a reaction to the US diplomats’ conversation seven hours before it was posted online.
“Sort of controversial judgment from Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland speaking about the EU,” the tweet read.
White House spokesman Jay Carney pointed to the tweet and Russia’s clear interest in what has become a struggle between pro-Moscow and pro-Western camps in the former Soviet Republic, but declined to comment on the source of the audio in the controversial conversation.
“I would say that since the video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government, I think it says something about Russia’s role,” Carney said.
In 2013 the US was accused of listening in on top-politicians’ phone calls, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s. She was outraged and furiously demanded an explanation and a personal apology from President Obama.
It’s not clear if she got what she wanted, but the US did respond to the allegations of tapping phones of politicians around the world by saying this kind of practise is common on both sides.