MARTIN BUREAU / AFP - Getty Images
State Department Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland smiles while holding a press conference at the American Embassy in Kiev on Friday.
The senior American diplomat apparently caught on tape making profane comments about her European colleagues said she was impressed by the “tradecraft” behind the snooping.
“I'm obviously not going to comment on private diplomatic conversations, other than to say that it was pretty impressive tradecraft,” Victoria Nuland said during a press conference in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Friday. “The audio was pretty clear.”
The good-natured but oblique reference to Russian snooping came after a recording of her saying "F*** the E.U." surfaced online.
On the call with United States Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, she and the ambassador both agreed they did not want to see the opposition leader Vitali Klitschko join the government.
Nuland has been working with the United Nations on a solution to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, which pits pro-Western protesters against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, who has spearheaded a rapprochement with Russia.
The Russians posted the YouTube audio of her comments on Twitter just as she was arriving in Ukraine for meetings Thursday.
Also on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the disparaging remarks "absolutely unacceptable," and Russia's Russia’s deputy prime minister accused the United States of "weaving plosts and [getting] into scandals."
First published February 7 2014, 6:03 AM
F. Brinley Bruton
F. Brinley Bruton is an editor and senior writer at NBCNews.com in London. Bruton reports, writes, edits and acts as the main point-person in London, commissioning and editing work by NBC News colleagues around the world. She started this role in May of 2007.
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At NBCNews.com and previously msnbc.com, she documented the economic crisisâ€™s deep impact on Spanish society. Bruton has also covered Turkeyâ€™s powerful Islamist government, and the struggle by young Muslim women to be accepted in mainstream society. She has also broken news on the booming North American methamphetamine trade.
Bruton joined NBCNews.com after working as a journalism trainer and mentor at Afghanistanâ€™s Pajhwok Afghan News. While in Afghanistan, she traveled to Farah Province â€“ off-limits to most Westerners â€“ to interview a female activist who became a hero after criticizing U.S.-backed militia leaders for the U.K.'s New Statesman magazine.
Bruton was also a reporter with Reuters in London and New York from 2000 to 2004. In New York, she broke stories about subprime and predatory lending at leading lenders like Citigroup and Countrywide. In London, she wrote about the rush to cash-in on reconstruction contracts after the invasion of Iraq.
Prior to her work at Reuters, Bruton worked at the Mexico City News where she covered, among other things, unionization efforts by the cityâ€™s sex workers.
Bruton lives in London, U.K.