US Senior Diplomat: “Fuck the EU”

Yesterday, a telephone conversation between
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Victoria Nuland and U.S Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was
leaked on Youtube. In the conversation, Nuland and Pyatt discuss
particular opposition leaders and the role of international bodies
in resolving the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

A Russian official
has denied
that he or the Russian government had anything to do
with leaking the recording, although he did say that he posted the
video after finding it on a social media site.

At the beginning of the call Nuland and Pyatt discuss
opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko, Arseniy Yatseniuk, and Oleh
Tyahnybok. Nuland says that she does not think that Klitschko
should be part of the government.

The next section of the call, in which Pyatt and Nuland discuss
the United Nations and the European Union, is what has been making
headlines (transcript from the BBC):

Nuland: OK… one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be
heard] I can’t remember if I told you this, or if I only told
Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had
a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this

Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary
General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or
Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing
and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

Nuland has
for the comment, and speaking about the recording
said that “the tradecraft was really quite
impressive.” Understandably, Nuland’s blunt assessment of how
useful the E.U. will be in a solution to the crisis in Ukraine has
upset at least one already irritated U.S. ally.

German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, who has been
critical of the NSA’s behavior
in the wake of Edward Snowden’s
revelations and whose phone was
reportedly tapped
by the intelligence agency, has condemned
Nuland’s comment.

While obviously crudely put and diplomatically embarrassing,
Nuland’s frustrations relating to the E.U.’s diplomatic influence
is understandable. The protests in Ukraine began after the
government there decided not to sign a trade deal with the E.U.
that some think
would have hurt the Russian economy. As the BBC’s Jonathan Marcus

Not for the first time in an international crisis, the US
expresses frustration at the EU’s efforts. Washington and Brussels
have not been completely in step during the Ukraine crisis. The EU
is divided and to some extent hesitant about picking a fight with
Moscow. It certainly cannot win a short-term battle for Ukraine’s
affections with Moscow – it just does not have the cash inducements
available. The EU has sought to play a longer game; banking on its
attraction over time. But the US clearly is determined to take a
much more activist role.

Moscow has been openly critical of the E.U.’s role during the
crisis in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized
the E.U.’s
diplomacy in Ukraine,
and Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov
said earlier this month that E.U. politicians
were encouraging violent protests.

from Hit & Run

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