WASHINGTON (AFP) - Washington's new top diplomat for Europe, Victoria Nuland, has been apparently caught being decidedly undiplomatic about her EU allies in a phone call about Ukraine posted Thursday on YouTube.
"**** the EU," Ms Nuland apparently says in a recent phone call with US ambassador to Kiev, Geoff Pyatt, as they discuss the next moves to try to resolve the crisis amid weeks of pro-democracy protests which have rocked the country.
The call appears to have been intercepted and released on the social networking video site, accompanied by Russian captions of the private and candid conversation.
Although the State Department did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment, White House spokesman Jay Carney alleged that the fact that it had been "tweeted out by the Russian government, it says something about Russia's role." It was impossible to immediately verify the undated post, although the woman speaking sounds like Ms Nuland, who served previously as the State Department's top spokeswoman before becoming assistant sectretary for European and Eurasian affairs late last year.
Ms Nuland and Mr Pyatt appear to discuss the upheavals in Ukraine, and President Viktor Yanukovych's offer last month to make opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk the new prime minister and Vitaly Klitschko deputy prime minister.
Both men turned the offer down.
Ms Nuland, who in December went down to Independence Square in Kiev in a sign of support for the demonstrators, adds she has also been told that the UN chief Ban Ki-moon is about to appoint a former Dutch ambassador to Kiev, Robert Serry, as his representative to Ukraine.
"That would be great I think to help glue this thing and have the UN glue it and you know, **** the EU," she says, in an apparent reference to differences over their policies.
"We've got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it," Mr Pyatt replies.
Mr Carney refused to discuss any details of the call, saying "we do not discuss private conversations. Assistant Secretary Nuland has been in contact with her EU counterparts and relations with the EU are stronger than ever," he added.
Ms Nuland was Thursday in Kiev meeting with Mr Yanukovych, who told her that he wanted to quickly adopt constitutional changes called for by pro-Western demonstrators.