Diplomat Victoria Nuland Caught Cursing EU On Tape

State Department suggests Russia leaked the embarrassing tape.
3:00 | 02/06/14

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Transcript for Diplomat Victoria Nuland Caught Cursing EU On Tape
This is a special room. I'm tired and is a New York with -- ABC -- digital special report the United States' top European diplomat. Caught on tape cursing out the European Union. Assistant secretary of state Victoria -- and was speaking to US ambassador to the Ukraine Jeffrey Piet. What she thought was a private phone call about developments in the troubled Ukraine. That call was leaked online but it -- posts and this is part of what she said. -- Now gotten both Harry and Ban Ki Moon to greet the -- could come in Monday or Tuesday. Because that would be great -- and help blew this thing and at the UN helped -- it and in no EU. Now exactly. All of this coming as Ukraine is on the verge of -- civil war half the nation allied closely with Russia on the other half -- stronger ties to the European Union. For more on this let's bring in ABC's -- Weinberg at the State Department hello Alley. The very candid talk for someone news. Job it is to be very tactful -- first what prompted her. To say that obviously she thought it was a private conversation. Exactly -- well for the nation's top diplomat on Europe certainly that wasn't very. Diplomatic language but what drove her to make those comments was in her estimation is she saying that the EU the European Union. Isn't doing enough to propel the Ukrainian president Yanukovych. To get to the table with the opposition and also to. Go and make his support known among the ukrainians of the European Union she's saying he's not doing -- not the Europeans. The -- European Union is not doing enough to get Yanukovych to break ties with the Russians. And in fact to get closer to the EU this is all about a trade deal that the Yanukovych. Decided to not sign. With the Europeans. Russia. Instead offered him a nice package. Aid to the country and invited him to become more closely allied on a trade level with. The Russians so far he has not it made any much indication. That he wants to separate from Russia and so what -- was expressing. What's her frustration that the EU who she believes would be in a position to. Get Yanukovych to. Kind of nudge over to the Europeans but they're just not doing enough in that same part of that phone call she says the United Nations should step in as well and they should bring someone on the ground. And maybe they'll have some -- where the EU just happened -- an -- has the Ukrainian government responded to this. The Ukrainian government has not yet responded to -- we haven't gotten any official response. From the government itself nor have we from any of the diplomatic channels here in the U last. They're being completely mom which for now -- probably just trying to see where this all where this all falls out. But. Spokesman -- -- at the State Department today did indicate that. This is just an example of diplomats doing what diplomats -- -- talk amongst themselves. And they may be expressing. Not right before they make final decision on on what they want to do policy wise. They might be talking about things that don't actually end up being the official US government position. One thing that is of concern for the ukrainians perhaps. Is the fact and it and in fact our relations on the ground with the right now. Is the fact isn't new Lindh was very she sounded a lot -- the US is in control of this whole situation. That's something that the State Department pushed back on today saying that she doesn't in fact have any control over it but. Just in the way she -- first to the opposition leaders. She she was talking to what what's actually provide some more background on on -- beginning of the call itself. Which was. She was discussing with her counterpart about. Two members of the opposition potentially joining the Ukrainian government which was an offer. That Yanukovych made to two major leaders of the opposition movement. New ones position in this call that -- -- -- elated to the US ambassador to Ukraine. Is that she things one of those opposition leaders should in fact enter the government because he's qualified and has the experienced you. While another member of the opposition should stay on the outside of government and -- a conduit with. The official government. With the outside because in new -- perspective he wasn't. Experienced enough. The problem with this is that new -- suggested in in her tone. That the United States actually has the final word and that she said it's not necessary. To put the inexperienced guy. In the government his name is Anna Vitaly Klitschko. And that it was only necessary for one of them to join the government. Sort of almost insinuating that these opposition leaders -- are just ponds on her on her chessboard. I have this economic point pointed out -- that's not. The case and -- let's get to be white. House response to this you mentioned the state department's response but here's what Press Secretary Jay Carney -- had to say in the White House briefing room today about. What's this video was first noted. And weeded out by the Russian government it says. Something about. Russia's role -- the content of the conversations with him -- Question it happens I'm not this noting that -- -- Is what is it about their request for creative state. OK so easy NN mentioned the Russians treated it but it doesn't -- -- go as far as to say that they leaked it but how do we believe this conversation was linked publicly. We could characterize what Jay Carney just did as kind of a non denial denial -- mean -- -- or not affirmation affirmation they're saying that. While these guys were the first ones to pick up on it and they tweeted -- but we're not at a point where we can say yet definitively and publicly that in fact the Russians were the ones who leaked this call but. Jet which is basically what Jay Carney in that clip you played was saying but Jen -- also spoke to this. From speaking from the State Department that. And -- what's funny is that this has come up a lot in terms of the debate over an essay and -- -- -- revelations. That it's not an uncommon thing for governments to spy on each other and Victorian new -- as an assistant secretary of state. Knows that she's not immune to this sort of thing what's different here is that this conversation actually got. Posted to YouTube that's very unusual wall. The all the official US channels are not pinning the blame on Russia just yet. But they are definitely indicating that they're not pleased with the Russians. Involvement here today Jen Saki said that this was them that -- most egregious case of trade craft. That we've seen from the Russian so they went pretty far but they did stop just short of blaming the Russians for actually. Hosting the call -- so. Does the fallout here really I mean obviously. We get a sense that people don't talk on the phone as they would publicly this certainly was not -- that was meant to be. Publicized is they're going to be a significant fallout so with the Russian with the Ukraine with the European Union. Right as you mentioned this is what diplomats do that should come to as a surprise to nobody. That there are conversations that sometimes get heated and don't necessarily reflect official US position that they -- put on at a press release. The concerns here in terms of policy fallout certainly you look at the US Russia relationship and if in fact. There is conclusive but determination that the Russians were the ones that leaked -- That's going to you certainly frost over even more already very icy relations with the Russians on a wide variety of issues not just. Ukraine but you look at Iran and Syria and the Russians are just being major players and in some cases. -- and says -- US policy in all of those regions so. If in fact the US -- on Russia that could really harm relations as far as the Ukraine goes. The US is still maintaining that this final decision on what happens with the government there is absolutely the decision of the Ukrainian people. So it's not yet clear. To what extent this is going two. Complicate the US Ukrainian relationship -- -- short of the two opposition leaders that she mentioned. In the context. Saying what she wants them to -- I'm sure they didn't appreciate that. But it does remain to be seen how that actually does -- the relationship. You also have to consider the -- role in all this new Lindh did call in that phone call for an EU official to come on the ground in the Ukraine. The EU is telling me today that they're always happy to you send someone down if all parties on the -- agree. That and that it excuse me the UN the United Nations that that all parties want -- United Nations person on the ground so. If the United Nations does in fact get to the ground in the Ukraine. Again nobody really knows how that's going to change the calculus on the ground but the bottom line is the US is underscoring that this decision remains. And the power of the Ukrainian people. Rate ABC's -- Weinberg at the State Department. -- story and the number of levels thank you so much for joining us. You know cars get a complete recap right here on abcnews.com for now -- -- in New York but -- ABC news. Digital special reports.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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