Sunday, February 09, 2014

No Ukraine Inquiry Into Bugged Phone Call

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine’s state security service said Saturday that it was not investigating the bugging of a phone call between American diplomats in which they weighed which opposition leaders to back for a possible new government to replace Ukraine’s current pro-Russian one.


Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland

American officials have accused Russian officials of disseminating the recording of the phone call between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the American ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, while both were in Kiev, though they have not accused Russia of having tapped the phones.

”The Ukrainian Security Service is not conducting any investigation into the matter at this time,” Maxim Lenko, a senior investigations official in the Ukrainian State Security Service, said at a news conference in Kiev.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany issued a sharp statement denouncing the American diplomat's remarks on the political crisis in Kiev.

Viktor F. Yanukovych, president of Ukraine, and Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs, met in Kiev on Thursday.

American diplomats tried to limit the damage on Friday after the recording was posted on the Internet.

At one point in the conversation, Ms. Nuland and Mr. Pyatt expressed their frustrations with their European counterparts, and Ms. Nuland was heard using an expletive in reference to the European Union.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, already furious with Washington over reports that American intelligence agencies had recorded her conversations, found Ms. Nuland’s remarks “totally unacceptable,” her spokeswoman said.

On Friday, a second recording was posted in which a senior German diplomat, Helga Schmid, complained to the European Union envoy in Kiev about “unfair” American criticism of Europe’s diplomacy.

Ms. Nuland has been Washington’s point person on Ukraine since a crisis broke in the former Soviet republic last November, bringing thousands of protesters out onto the streets of Kiev.

The intercepted phone call was released as Ms. Nuland visited Kiev to discuss American ideas for ending the crisis with President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

On Friday, Ms. Nuland laughed off the episode, saying the bugging operation was “pretty impressive tradecraft.”

She said she did not think it would rebound on relations with opposition leaders, with whom Western governments are trying to work as part of efforts to end Ukraine’s crisis.

Source: Yahoo News

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