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US apologizes to EU for remark in leaked call, blames Russia|
Feb 7, 2014
The top US diplomat for Europe has apologized after being caught making a crude remark about the European Union, blaming Russia for taping and leaking the phone call.
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland apparently used the f-word when discussing the current political crisis in Ukraine in a private telephone call with Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.
"F*** the EU," Nuland allegedly said during the conversation which was uploaded onto YouTube on Tuesday.
Nuland "has been in contact with her EU counterparts, and of course, has apologized," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday.
The spokeswoman acknowledged that the recording was authentic and criticized the Russians for being quick to tweet a link to the recording.
Russia has criticized the West for meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs and fueling the crisis in the eastern European country.
“This is something [the Russian government] has been actively promoting, posting on, tweeting about and certainly that we feel represents a new low,” Psaki said.
Nuland apparently used the expletive while complaining about the EU response to the Ukrainian crisis which has pitted Russia against the West.
The leaked call has laid bare a deep degree of US involvement in Ukrainian affairs which Washington publically says are Ukraine’s to resolve.
The four-minute conversation was about a Jan. 25 offer by Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich to two opposition leaders, who want him to sign a trade agreement with Europe, to become prime minister and deputy prime minister.
In the leaked recording, Nuland bluntly suggested she did not want to see opposition leader Vitali Klitschko join the government, and Pyatt agreed with her.
"I don't think Klitsch should go into the government," she apparently said.
"I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, he's got the governing experience," she added, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was offered the post of prime minister.
Ukraine has been rocked by anti-government protests since last November after President Yanukovich refrained from signing the EU deal, which could have paved the way for Kiev to join the bloc.