Victoria Nuland: Leaked call shows US hand on Ukraine


Nuland declined to comment on the substance of the conversation but said the leak displayed "pretty impressive tradecraft"

Swearing scornfully about your allies isn't great diplomacy - but it is the revelation of the depth of the US involvement in the Ukraine crisis that really catches the eye.

Behind the banging of batons and the chucking of petrol bombs lies a very old struggle: whether Ukraine faces east or west, whether it does trade deals with the European Union or Russian President Vladimir Putin's ersatz Russian reflection of the EU, the Eurasian Union.

Much is at stake, not just for Ukraine, but others in the region facing a similar dilemma.

It seems Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, whose conversation with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was leaked on YouTube, felt the EU was being tardy and inefficient.

Pity poor EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (the term "foreign minister" was rejected by real foreign ministers, and her official title is "high representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy") - who has to check her every move with Berlin, Paris, London and Warsaw not to mention the Baltic states and the Scandinavians, indeed any of the EU's 28 countries who might have a view on how to handle Russia.

The US state department does not, yet, have to consult the governor of Alabama on such matters, and so Ms Nuland could instead plot with the ambassador on who should and shouldn't be in a new Ukrainian cabinet.

After all the NSA revelations, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's umbrage at them, saying a naughty word about the main players in the region is excruciatingly awkward.

But it's the larger conversation, which shows the US is manipulating Ukraine just as much as Russia, that is the real diplomatic disaster.

Mark Mardell, North America editor Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell North America editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    I wish the U.S. government was as supportive of free speech in the USA as it seems to be in the Ukraine. During the Occupy Wall Street protests, there was a massive police presence, intimidation of demonstrators, police brutality, and widespread repression of peaceful protestors. Yet in the Ukraine the US government believes that the police should not respond to rock throwing, arson, etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    The US needs to start cleaning up its own messes and STOP pretending it's the leader of the free world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    U.S. involvement in Ukraine doesn't disturb me half as much as Ms. Nuland's arrogant attitude, which the world has increasingly come to expect from my country's entire foreign policy.

    You would think that the last sixty years of American history would have taught people -- in the State Department at least -- some semblance of humility.

    Sec. Kerry needs to clean house of these people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    By their rude and telling comments,I take it that the US is not with it's allies anymore. They are able to make an enemy of friends. Europe was in love with the USA in 2008 when Obama came to power and hating the USA in 2014. Not a very good record is it Mr Obama?

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Neither the US or the EU have ANY Right whatsoever trying to manipulate the elections of sovereign states!

    The rest of the world should pour billions of advertising dollars into the next US presidential and congressional elections. Maybe they can save the world by helping to elect decent US leaders for the first time in 30 years with integrity and half a brain!

    What goes around comes around!


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