By Elise Labott
A leaked audio recording of a phone call allegedly catches the top U.S. diplomat to Europe working on a behind-the-scenes deal to end the Ukrainian political turmoil, and using profanity to express strong frustrations with inaction and indecision by the European Union in resolving the crisis.
In the conversation, voices closely resembling those of Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discuss a plan to broker a deal between the Ukrainian government and the opposition.
At one point the woman, who sounds like Nuland, can be heard saying "f**k the EU."
The recording was uploaded on YouTube on February 4 by an anonymous user named "Maidan Puppets," and had been viewed more than 11,000 times as of Thursday. The name of the user appears to be a reference to Maidan Square in Kiev, where protestors have fought the government and Russian accusations that the protestors are puppets of the West. The call also was posted on the Kyiv Post, a leading Ukrainian newspaper.
By Elise Labott
The protests in Ukraine against President Viktor Yanukovich's last-minute decision not to sign a political and trade agreement with the European Union are the biggest in the country since the 2004 Orange Revolution that booted Yanukovich, then Prime Minister, from office.
And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was tough Tuesday in his criticism of the government's use of force against the peaceful demonstrators, saying "violence has no place in a modern European state."
But his decision to skip a visit to Kiev and attend a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe wasn't necessarily a response to the political upheaval and a voice of support for the protesters, nor was it an indictment of the government's heavy-handed methods to combat it.
The snub was, in effect, a U.S. protest of the government's moves to align its trade interests with Moscow by deciding not to join the EU agreement. The so-called Eastern Partnership is designed to forge closer EU ties to Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
By Jill Dougherty
It’s a short stop – just four hours – on a trip that will take Secretary of State John Kerry to a NATO meeting in Belgium, to Israel and to Ramallah in the West Bank. But his visit to Chisinau, capital of Moldova, is significant.
The Eastern European nation, bordered on the east by Ukraine, stuck to its diplomatic guns late last month and, along with Georgia, signed a key economic and political agreement with the European Union.
That agreement, called the “Eastern Partnership,” is designed to forge closer E.U. ties with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
For the past year, Ukraine insisted it was intent on signing an historic political and trade agreement with the European Union, but on Thursday, the government in Kiev made the surprising last-minute decision to suspend talks with the EU, drawing dismayed reaction from Europe and the United States.
Commenting on the news just minutes after it broke, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki that if reports were true "and if the decision is the Ukrainian government's final decision," the Obama administration was "disappointed."
European leaders warned Friday that reports of widespread spying on world leaders by the U.S. National Security Agency have raised "deep concerns" among Europeans and could affect the cooperation needed for effective intelligence gathering.
"A lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field," the leaders said in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of a two-day European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that Madrid has summoned U.S. Ambassador James Costos over the matter. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid declined to comment, saying that Rajoy's statement stands for itself.
By Josh Levs
European officials reacted with fury Sunday after a report that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on EU offices.
The European Union warned that if the report is accurate, it will have tremendous repercussions.
"I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in a statement. "If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations."FULL STORY
A European court on Monday ruled that radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza can be extradited from Great Britain to the United States, where he faces a host of terrorism charges.
The European Human Rights Court issued its ruling, clearing the way for Hamza's extradition. This means that he can now be moved to the United States, though no date has been set.
Hamza faces 11 charges in U.S. courts, including conspiracy in connection with a 1998 kidnapping of 16 Westerners in Yemen and conspiring with others to establish an Islamic jihad training camp in rural Oregon in 1999.
Read the full story here
As Iran gets set to meet again with the U.S. and other countries to negotiate its nuclear program, the country's economic minister insisted in an interview Sunday with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that the crippling sanctions imposed on Iran were not having as much of an impact as believed.
Minister Shamseddin Hosseini argued that his country has a much broader economy than just oil.
"Last year, the total non-oil exports increased by 30 percent and according to the latest reports that the International Monetary Fund has published, Iran's GDP - Iran's per capita income has also increased," Hosseini said in the interview on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Zakaria pressed Hosseini on the argument, asking how it could be that the country is not affected when 80% of its foreign revenues come from foreign sales of oil.
Here is a transcript of the exchange: FULL POST
European Union naval forces on Tuesday struck Somali pirate targets on the coast of the country in the first raids by the European force on the Somali mainland.
"We believe this action by the EU Naval Force will further increase the pressure on, and disrupt pirates' efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows," Rear Adm. Duncan Potts, operational commander of the force, said in a statement.
Several pirate attack skiffs, the small boats pirates use to attack merchant vessels in the open ocean, were destroyed in the raid, said Timo Lange, media officer at the naval force's headquarters in England.
No Somalis were injured in the raid, which was conducted entirely by air, the force's statement said.