Ukraine: leak raises diplomatic tensions

2014-02-07 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) In published remarks, an advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. was funding Ukrainian "rebels" by as much as $20 million a day for weapons and other supplies. Sergei Glazyev urged the Ukrainian government to put down the "attempted coup," and said Russia may have to intervene under the terms of a 1994 agreement between the United States and Russia. Listen to this report from correspondent Stefan Bos:

He referred to the Budapest Memorandum in which Ukraine agreed to turn over the nuclear arsenal on its soil left over after the fall of the Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was a part until it dissolved in 1991.

In return, nuclear powers United States, Britain and Russia, pledged to respect the independence and the borders of Ukraine and heir commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action should Ukraine become a victim of an act of aggression.

While Moscow has accused the West of interference, Washington described as "a new low in Russian tradecraft" the posting on the YouTube website of a recording of a senior State Department official discussing plans for a new Ukrainian government with the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv.


The leaked recording was apparently produced January 27 when opposition leader Arseny Yatsenyuk turned down Yanukovich's offer to be prime minister.


BOXING CHAMPION

In the bugged phone conversation, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt agreed that another opposition figure, former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko,

should not be in the cabinet.

"I don't think Klitsch (Klitschko) should go into the government," Nuland said in the recording, which carried subtitles in Russian. "I don't think it's a good idea."

The ambassador seemed to agree. “In terms of him not going into the government, just let him sort of stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead; we want to keep the moderate democrats together,” he added.


The latest tensions, resembling the Cold War, came as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepared to open the Winter Olympics at Sochi, the first Games in Russia since the Soviet Union hosted the 1980 summer edition.


He was expected to meet the Ukrainian president in Sochi, possibly to discuss Viktor Yanukovich's plans for a new prime minister - plans on which billions in Russian aid depend.