A row has broken out between the United States and Europe over the F-word a senior State Department official used to denounce the European Union’s indecisive stand on the crisis in Ukraine.
In a leaked phone conversation U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine that the European Union’s position should be ignored as Washington works to get the United Nations help bring the opposition to power in Ukraine.
“That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing [have a U.N. envoy come to Kiev] and have the U.N. glue it and you know, f*** the EU," the top U.S. diplomat for Europe told U.S. Ambassador Geoff Pyatt.
A four-minute video, titled “Maidan puppets,” was uploaded to YouTube by an anonymous user.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed outrage over the U.S. diplomat’s disparaging remark.
“The chancellor considers this statement absolutely unacceptable ... and wants to emphasise again that [E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine] Ashton is doing an outstanding job,” a spokeswoman for Ms Merkel said on Friday, referring to the video.
The U.S. State Department was quick to point the finger at Russia, accusing it of bugging American diplomats.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the video was “a new low in Russian tradecraft.”
The spokesman said Ms Nuland had apologised her E.U. colleagues for her comments.
U.S. suspicions of Russia’s involvement were based on the fact that a Russian official gave a link to Ms Nuland’s scandalous conversation on Thursday. However, the leaked conversation was spotted on YouTube two days earlier and was first reported in Ukrainian media.
Ms Nuland, who is currently in Kiev, met Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders on Friday.
The leaked conversation bears out Russia’s claims that the West is heavily meddling in the Ukrainian crisis in order to oust Mr Yanukovych.
In the recording, Ms Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt discuss frankly which opposition figures should go into the new Ukrainian government.