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Ukraine Crisis

F-Bomb Flap Diplomat Nuland Praises Snooping 'Tradecraft'

Image: US State Department Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland
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. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP - Getty Images

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."

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