By Rebecca Shabad - 02/07/14 02:07 PM EST
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Russia had taped a leaked phone call in which one U.S. official said to another “f--k the EU”
A recording of the phone call was posted on YouTube Thursday, and showed assistant secretary of State Victoria Nuland making the remark to U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.
Russia’s government first tweeted a link to the video — a sign that it may have been involved in recording and leaking it.
“We all know the capabilities of the Russian government, so I would not be surprised if that is what they did. What does surprise me is that it’s leaked and put on YouTube,” McFaul said in an interview with NBC News.
“The video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government. I think it says something about Russia's role."
McFaul called the recording of phone conversation “some kind of breach of diplomatic norms.”
Nuland and Pyatt had been discussing a plan to broker a deal between the Ukrainian government and opposition groups after more than a month of protests that turned violent at times.
This week, McFaul said he would step down from his diplomatic post for family reasons. He told NBC that phone conversations he’s had while in Russia have also been recorded.
“I've had it done to me from time to time living here in Russia, so I know exactly how it feels,” he said.