Two top diplomats were caught discussing less-than-diplomatic thoughts about the EU this week, a leak the State Department is blaming on the Russians.
The tape, which was anonymously posted to YouTube, is purportedly of a phone conversation about uniting the Ukrainian government with opposition leaders that Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt had sometime in the last two weeks.
The two diplomats discuss the intensifying divide in Ukraine and they briefly debate potential governmental roles for two top opposition leaders, Vitali Klitschko and Arseniy Yatseniuk. But Nuland's final point (around 2:30 in) has been the one making headlines.
Nuland: Oh, one more wrinkle for you Geoff.
Nuland: I can't remember if I told you this or if I only told Washington this, but when I talked to Jeff Felton [the 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 morning?
Pyatt: Yeah, I saw that.
Nuland: Okay. He's now gotten both Serry and 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 have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.
Pyatt: Oh, exactly. And I think 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.
And torpedo it they did, according to the State Department, which has not denied the authenticity of the tape recordings.
"Certainly we think this is a new low in Russian tradecraft in terms of publicizing and posting this... I don't have any other independent details about the origin of the YouTube video," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The video first appeared in an article on the website of the Kiev Post, a Ukranian English-language news outlet.