A senior Obama administration official was recorded saying “F--- the EU,” according to an audio tape leaked online Thursday.
Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, is heard making the remark to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt when discussing the leadership situation in the Eastern European nation.
The Kyiv Post first reported the telephone call — and the White House Thursday did not contest its authenticity. However, White House press secretary Jay Carney said he would not discuss a private conversation.
Obama’s top spokesman pointed out that the Russian government tweeted out the exchange, making a-not-so subtle suggestion that Russian officials were behind the leaked conversation.
And a State Department spokesman said that Moscow’s posting of the tape represented a “new low in Russian tradecraft."
Ukraine has been rocked by protests of late, and the Obama administration has worked behind the scenes to stem more violent outbursts. President Viktor Yanukovych is seen by protesters as being too closely aligned with Russia.
Nuland’s conversation alludes to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon selecting an envoy to address the situation.
The State Department official said the envoy would “help glue this thing,” before adding “F--- the EU.”