A newly disclosed audio recording purportedly depicts a conversation between two American diplomats, in which one curses the European Union as they discuss how to handle turmoil in Ukraine.
American officials were quick to suggest a Russian role in the apparent leak, which came as Russia is engaged in a tug of war with the E.U. and the United States for influence over Ukraine. The audio recording, incorporated into a video with Russian subtitles and posted on YouTube Tuesday, appears to be a conversation between the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, discussing how to resolve the ongoing standoff between the Ukraine government and protesters camped out in the streets.
At one point, the voice apparently belonging to Nuland suggests that United Nations efforts should take precedence over the E.U. position, adding, “f–k the E.U.”
An aide to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin shared the clip on Twitter Wednesday before it had gained widespread notice. “Sort of controversial judgment from Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland speaking about the EU,” he wrote.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday. He didn’t comment on the authenticity of the recording, which has yet to be independently confirmed.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that if the Russians were responsible for bugging and leaking the conversation, it would be “a new low in Russian tradecraft.”
Psaki also said Nuland had apologized to her E.U. counterparts for her comments, the AP reports. When asked if the video was authentic, Psaki said: “I didn’t say it was inauthentic.”