US envoy says 'F**k the EU' in leaked recording

  

Victoria Nuland, the United States' top diplomat for Europe and Eurasia, apologised yesterday (6 February) after a voice recording of her using crude language about the EU with the US ambassador to Kyiv was published on YouTube.

EU press teases Commission over F-word

The intercepted conversation apparently dates from 26 January, when a government reshuffle was being considered in Ukraine following pro-European protests in Kyiv, which had turned violent.

In the conversation, Nuland, who is Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State, and Geoffrey R. Pyatt, the US ambassador in Kyiv, discuss possible nominations of opposition leaders to form a new government.

Nuland is heard saying “F**k the EU", and the US ambassador answers “exactly”.

The authenticity of the recording [which can be heard here on YouTube] cannot be independently verified, but the fact that Nuland has apologised appears to confirm its authenticity. The White House believes “a Russian hand” is behind the leak.

The planned government reshuffle had seen Arseny Yatsenyuk, the leader of the Batkivschchyna party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, being offered the job of prime minister. Vitaly Klitschko, a former international boxing champion, was offered the job of deputy prime minister.

Nuland said she did not think that Klitschko should be in government. She said that “Yatse”, meaning Yatsenyuk, “is the guy” to be prime minister, while Klitschko, from the outside, should keep the unity of the opposition. Klitscko working under Yatsenyuk is not going to work, she said.

Both diplomats also exchanged concerns over the third opposition leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, who heads the nationalist Svoboda party. The ambassador advised Nuland not to talk with the three leaders, but only to Klitschko.

Then Nuland spoke about Robert Serry, a Dutch diplomat appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as his representative to deal with the crisis in Ukraine.

Nice to have the UN

Nuland said that the arrival of Serry in Kyiv “would be great".

She added: "I think to help glue this thing, and have the UN glue it, and you know – fuck the EU“, she says. “Exactly”, Pyatt replied, adding that the US wants somebody like Serry “to help midwife this”, in what appears to be testimony of difference between US and EU policies on how to influence the political process in Ukraine.

Both Yatsenyuk and Klitschko have turned down the proposals to join the government, which is led by Serhiy Arbuzov, a close associate of the president, Viktor Yanukovich.

EU officials quoted by Reuters said they would not comment on a "leaked alleged" conversation. The audio clip was first posted on Twitter by Dmitry Loskutov, an aide to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, a diplomatic source quoted by Reuters said. According to his account @DLoskutov, this happened at 9.30 a.m. Brussels time on Thursday.

The release of the recording, whatever its source and authenticity, appears designed to discredit the Western powers, portray Ukraine's opposition as Western pawns and to drive a wedge between Brussels and Washington, Reuters added.

The Ukrainian news website Zerkalo nedeli quoted White House spokesperson Jay Carney saying that Russia was involved in the leaked voice recording.

British daily The Guardian quoted State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki that Nuland “has been in contact with her EU counterparts and of course has apologised for these reported comments”.

Psaki 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.”

Positions: 

Sergei Glazyev, advisor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, criticised the United States for its push to sanction Ukraine’s leadership.

Speaking to the daily Kommersant-Ukraine, Glazyev accused Nuland of "blackmail" by privately warning wealthy, mostly Russian-speaking oligarchs who back Yanukovich that they risked their foreign assets being seized if they did not hand power to the opposition.

Asked by Kommersant whether Russia might "actively intervene" in Ukraine, he recalled the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which removed Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine.

Glazyev said: "Under the document, Russia and the USA are guarantors of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and [...] are obliged to intervene when conflict situations of this nature arise."

Asked if the President Viktor Yanukovich should now use force to clear the protesters, Glazyev said:

"As for starting to use force, in a situation where the authorities face an attempted coup d’état, they simply have no other course of action."

Russia, he said, was concerned that the country should not split apart. But he suggested that a form of federalism be introduced to give regions substantial powers - to the extent eastern regions might be linked to a customs union with Russia while western Ukraine might have a trade pact with Europe. 

Timeline: 
  • 7 Feb.: Yanukovich to meet with Putin in Sochi;
  • 10 Feb.: Meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Ukraine on the agenda.
External links: 
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Comments

an european's picture

W H A T ??

F*ck the U.S. then !

STOPP TTIP NOW !!!

mike's picture

Does it come as a surprise that US officials lose their patience with the EU?

How on earth could US officials respect their EU peers given that EAAS staff -at least prior to the latest staff refrom- is on holiday up to 17 weeks/year?

Mike Parr's picture

I think we need some back ground to this.

The "fuck the EU" was a throw away line and all the more interesting for that - and undoubtedly represents the view of this women and her colleagues forming the US body politic: Victoria Nuland; spouse of neocon Robert Kagan of the Project for a New American Century known as PNAC.

This is how the neocons in the USA (& they run the USA) see the EU. The UK is a poodle of the USA and the USA would like the EU to have the same status. De Gaulle recognised that in the 1960s - hence the French withdrawal from NATO and the development of a truly independent nuclear deterrent (and his resistance to the UK poodle joining the EC as was then).

The TTIP given the above, is one way of poodleising the EU - turning it into a USA fido (down boy). I doubt the cretins that still support TTIP see that.

Note also the significant number of USA military bases in both the UK and Germany - both countries still occupied by USA military forces more than 70 years after WWII.

Gerry's picture

Like people generally ought to know, Americans are generally rude, arrogant and habitually foul mouthed people, the ones at the top being no exception but rather confirm that rule. As such the comment does not mean much, but it does betray an underlying difference and disagreement in the approach between the US and the EU. However it's really up to the EU diplomats to learn to stand up to the aggressive and condescending attitudes of US diplomats.

an european's picture

Finally I apologize for these reported comments recently .....

an european's picture

Finally I apologize for these reported comments recently .....

jubus's picture

Typical Russian practice. EU-USA alliance is strong and Kremlin will not change it, at all. F....k Russia!

60tpi's picture

F**k the EU. My sentiment exactly.Eurosceptic movements now increasingly widespread across the EU. The project is in terminal decline.

Richard's picture

One can sympathise with American sentiment towards the EU.

Europe constantly agitates to be taken seriously as a world power, but in actuality demonstrates that it is a gaggle of 28 independent voices who invariably place individual national interests first.

It is thus widely regarded as a toothless old dog - one that likes to bark but which has no bite. One that wants to be taken seriously yet for the most part fails to meet the minimum requirements for defence spending within NATO (most would rather see the USA cover the slack and then express contempt for American militarism)

The Americans remember how the Europeans made a hopeless mess in the Balkans, basically sitting to one side and engaging in useless and helpless handwringing, lacking the means but more importantly the will to intervene decisively.

They now see how the EU has botched the affair with Ukraine, being outmaneuvered by Putin's Russia. Ukraine realises that the EU has neither the means nor the will to intervene decisively there either - Europeans would rather look after their own interests like Russian gas prices than present Ukraine with a meaningful and beneficial counter-offer, instead proferring wishy-washing trade association deals all tied to torturous conditions.

Ukraine realises that if it jumps into the EU camp, it will need the Eu to protect it. Small wonder they have no faith in that.

As a worst case scenario, Americans see Ukraine potentially dissolving into a messy civil war, and once again the EU wringing it's hands ineffectually at a mess on it's own doorstep

John's picture

She has said what many of us have been saying along. We created a slow moving monster that does not serve our best interests. We have high unemployment, high taxes and no growth for the foreseeable future thanks to their meddling.

60tpi's picture

Hi Richard: Just so.

In or out 's picture

I like this woman.

God bless the usa.

In or out 's picture

I like this woman.

God bless the usa.

an european's picture

God bless the United Europe

Mike Parr's picture

"We have high unemployment, high taxes and no growth for the foreseeable future thanks to their meddling"

that would be the member states you are referring to? you know the ones like Spain or the UK where the current crop play at being politicos.

european 2's picture

yes, the lady is brilliant, lets not forget this is not her first disaster (Bengazi attack 2012)...yet she continues to occupy a very high post...which should make you ponder over it...in Europe, we normally call this mixture clientilism,state capture and unbearable arrogance (when posts are given away centrally by command, and when people who should be punished go along with some reported excuse(dont remember her to be apologising publicly))...so much for the unspotted image of our world leader(not that this is the first time)...
Yes, EU maybe not the strongest in the world, but at least i have not heard any of the EU diplomats to talk about his/her colleagues (even Russian ones)in such a rude manner...i pity the magnificent education you receive at school and Unis..if a person of her rank speaks like this i can imagine ..

Basack Orama's picture

Cheeky fucker! You see, I like the Yanks but they always seem to stick their fucking noses in other peoples business. What this old bat said is probably what most of the US Government thinks and would like to say. The Americans (Government) are the cause of most of the shit that goes down ANY WHERE in the world. Lets see what Obama does now!

an european's picture

@ Mike Parr- Posted on : 07/02/2014

This answers the question why i preach for a federal United Europe but not on the Gusto the U.S. like to copy !

As Tony Blair said about the lack of an E.U. President!

El Pluribus Unum

60tpi's picture

Hi an european: 'God bless the United Europe'
I love a good Oxymoron.That's the best I have seen in some time.

Iwantout's picture

So it appears that the Russian eaves dropped on a US diplomat (I thought that sort of thing was only done by the dastardly US and UK) and record her using a profanity about the EU. So what ? I am absolutely certain that all diplomats use undiplomatic language about foreign powers and situations when they think they are safe to do so. Have none of you never said or thought exactly the same about your boss, co-worker etc ?

The over hyped response to this symptom of the human condition is simply evidence of crushing naivety by those who are ‘outraged’ or the desire to attempt to make a political point.

Cem's picture

Rude,crude and extremely unrespectful statement. How will she come to Europe and negotiate with her European counterparts as if nothing have happened? By the way it is impossible to agree with the comments blaming the European Union. In order to conceal their own failures some Member states deliberately try to scapegoat EU. It is not EU, which is responsible from state's failures. This is capitalism,like it or not.

60tpi's picture

Hi an european: Tony Blair no longer has any credence with the UK population. He is considered a 'has been'.

an european's picture

60tpi- Posted on : 07/02/2014

"good Oxymoron"...

Hmm this kind of behavior shows exactly why Scotland will leave that undemocratic UKSSR !

European's picture

It would be interesting to know who leaked this recording. All Snowden fans in Europe should be trying to find the answer to that.

Richard's picture

Cem, the European Union is to blame because trade talks and asscoaition deals are the exclusive competence of the European Union. It was not any individual member state that was negotiating with Ukraine, it was the European Union.

But that illustrates the point I was making. All the EU had to offer was an association trade deal that was dependent on meeting difficult conditions.

Russia was able to offer an immediate and concrete deal by offering to lower gas prices right away and an immediate direct transger of funds.

Moreover, Ukraine realised that if they went with the EU then Russia would retaliate. They would have to depend on the EU to defend Ukraine's interests as only the EU is big enough - Ukraine is not on it's own to stand up to Russia.

But Ukraine looked at the EU and, as I said, saw that it is a toothless old dog that like to bark loudly but is unable to bite. If Russia put trade sanctions against Ukraine, what would the EU do? Nothing. What is it even capable of doing? Not much more than nothing.

The EU talks big but it always ends up as a bystander, helplessly wringing it's hands and sending notes to people about how terrible a situation is.

After the Balkans, a total humiliation for the Europeans who effectively sat back and waited for the USA to sort things out, the Americans fear Ukraine turning into another mess on the EU doorstep that it lacks the means and will to deal with.

Basically, the EU and Russia are vying to bring Ukraine into their "side". So far, the EU has let itself be out-maneuvered at every step, the signal it has sent to Ukraine is that "Europe would like to have you...but not enough to offer any real incentives"

If the Eu want Ukraine to swing towards the EU, they will have to offer it real, material benefits immediately; more than Russia is offering.

Basically, if a starving man is offered bread today or a banquet tomorrow, he will accept the offer of the bread and will not care who is doing the offering.

An European - you comments are bizarre. For example, the EU Constitution specifically removed references to God. Because the EU is secular. Constatly quoting E Pluribus Unum is weird too. The motto of the EU is Unity in Diversity.

European's picture

Richard has a really strange perspective. He thinks Yanukovich and his henchmen are "Ukraine". In Richard's view, what the Ukrainian people themselves might think or desire for their future is of no significance. It's all about what deal Yanukovich thinks is best. The hundreds of thousands of protesting Ukrainians who have been out in the cold for months now are simply trash and should be ignored. Only the big president matters.

"Moreover, Ukraine realised that if they went with the EU then Russia would retaliate."
Why would Russia retaliate against a sovereign decision made by the Ukrainian people? Does Russia think it has the right to dictate Ukraine's future, even against the decisions of Ukraine itself? Does Russia think Uraine is its colony?

The EU doesn't throw money at countries to secure their obedience (Russia is even currently witholding its loans until Yanukovich picks a new government to Putin's liking). The EU says, these are our values, these are our principles, these are our rules, if you share them and want to eventually join with us, then there is a path to follow. If you sincerely take that path, then we will help you. If you take the piss out of us and think you can trick us, then we certainly aren't going to play with you.

The choice the Ukrainian people have is to follow the path of Poland or to follow the path of Belarus. Which do you think they would prefer, Richard?

Gerry's picture

Rather then calling this leak a low point I would call it a high point in international politics. We might finally be getting to a stage where the constant, suffocating secrecy has given way to a liberating 'let's put it out there' attitude, even when it's only being done to score some points over the other side. End the secrecy, let these people show who they really are! I hope we're going to see a lot more of this.

George Mc's picture

A lot of fuss about something of little importance.
Will we be talking about this tomorrow or next week? Don't think so!

Let us move on to something worthy of debate.

Thika's picture

I don't know, but I have a feeling that the comment made by Mrs. Nuland towards EU, could be considered a compliment comparing it with what they say inside Kremlin.

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