U.S. Diplomat: No Comment on Alleged EU Statement
U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland refused to comment Friday on the leak of an apparently bugged private phone conversation in which the speaker makes a disparaging remark about the European Union.
Nuland told reporters Friday she will not comment on a "private diplomatic conversation." But she called the recording of the call "pretty impressive tradecraft," saying the audio quality of the recording was very good.
U.S. officials have implied Russia may be involved in the leak of the recording, which features voices resembling those of Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. The people on the alleged call discuss international efforts to resolve Ukraine's ongoing political crisis, and at one point, the voice resembling Nuland's uses vulgar wording to suggest the European Union's position should be ignored.
U.S. officials on Thursday pointed to a tweet by an aide to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin as the first to promote the recording, which appeared on the YouTube website.
An aide to Rogozin, Dmitry Loskutov, told the Associated Press on Friday that neither Rogozin nor the Russian government played a role in leaking the tape.
US Bans Travelers From Bringing Liquids on Flights to Russia
U.S. transportation security officials are banning American travelers from carrying any liquids, gels or sprays on flights to Russia because of a possible terror threat.
Various reports say authorities gave the order Thursday, one day before the Winter Olympics officially open in Sochi. They say they will respond to protect Americans against what they call an "ever evolving threat picture."
Russia banned liquids from carry-on luggage on flights last month.
U.S. homeland security officials have warned airlines flying to Russia to watch out for toothpaste tubes that may be filled with explosives. They gave no details on the intelligence that led to the warnings.
Islamic extremists have threatened to disrupt the Olympics.