What appears to be a hacked phone conversation between top US officials about Ukraine, in which the EU is dismissed in crude terms, has been posted on the Internet.
The comments are attributed to the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland – who met President Yanukovych and opposition leaders separately in Kyiv on Thursday.
The date and precise context of the recording are not known.
In the video, posted on YouTube, Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discuss which of the country’s opposition leaders they would like to see in government – and refer to getting the UN involved in the process to resolve the political crisis.
In the recording the conversation is then as follows:
Victoria Nuland: “So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it and you know…” At this point she uses a swear word to dismiss the EU.
Geoffrey Pyatt: “Exactly. And I think 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.”
The video, entitled “Maidan’s Puppets” in Russian, also has a transcript in Russian.
The US State Department said it did not know where the recording came from. But it criticised Moscow for publicising it – while being suitably contrite towards the European Union.
“We work incredibly closely with the EU and with representatives of the EU and Assistant Secretary Nuland certainly does as it relates to Ukraine. And she’s been in close contact with EU High Representative Ashton. Also let me convey that she has been in contact with her EU counterparts and of course has apologised,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
A spokeswoman for the EU foreign policy chief told euronews that Brussels would not comment on a “leaked alleged phone conversation”.
The video clearly aims to embarrass the US, echoing Moscow’s accusations that the West is meddling in Ukraine.