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EXCLUSIVE: Russia can’t be ‘firefighter and arsonist’ in Ukraine, says U.S.

April 21st, 2014
04:01 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Russia cannot continue to pledge its support to deescalating unrest in Ukraine and at the same time fuel that turmoil, the U.S. says.

“You cannot dress yourself like a firefighter and behave like an arsonist,” Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.

“We are very concerned about the Russian hand behind the destabilizing things that we’re seeing in eastern Ukraine.”

A dossier obtained Monday by CNN shows what Ukrainian officials say are images of well-equipped gunmen operating in eastern Ukraine who look similar to photographs of Russian forces taken in Crimea, Russia and during Russia's 2008 invasion of Georgia.

Nuland said that the “bearded man” who has allegedly appeared both in Georgia and eastern Ukraine is “clearly a GRU agent,” referring to the main intelligence body of the Russian military.

CNN cannot independently confirm the photographs, some of which were first published in the New York Times.

U.S. point person on Ukraine crisis

The revelations follow reporting last week by CNN's Arwa Damon citing Ukrainian security officials as saying they had arrested a Russian military officer and a woman Ukrainian officials say is a Russian intelligence agent.

Nuland said that Russia has not been holding up its end of the bargain of an agreement signed last week between Russia, the U.S., Europe, and Ukraine to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine.

“We have not seen the kind of major de-escalation that we’re looking for, nor have we seen serious Russian efforts to help the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] or to speak out against separatists since Geneva.”

In an interview with Amanpour last week, a key Putin ally singled out Nuland herself for fomenting unrest in Ukraine.

“Victoria Nuland said about five billion U.S. dollars [was] spent to promote democracy in Ukraine, which is oftentimes a code word for regime change,” Vyacheslav Nikonov said.

Nuland acknowledged that American had “invested” $5 billion in Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“That money has been spent on supporting the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to have a strong, democratic government that represents their interests,” she said.

“But we certainly didn’t spend any money supporting the Maidan. That was a spontaneous movement, which is a far cry from what we are concerned Russia is up to now in eastern Ukraine.”

She praised the acting Ukrainian government for fulfilling the two tasks they were given, as she saw them.

“The first was to try to negotiate a deal with the IMF, where they would institute real reform and try to turn the page on the age of corruption that had been rampant in Ukraine.”

“And they have now successfully inked a deal with the IMF; they’ve also passed a vast amount of reform legislation, including to tackle corruption.”

The second task, she told Amanpour, was to hold “free and fair elections.”

“Presidential elections are scheduled for May 25th. There are some 20 candidates registered in those elections, representing all parts of the spectrum.”

The government, she said, is “doing very well” on those two fronts.

But as unrest rears its head in eastern Ukraine, she said, “they also have to ensure that the country is peaceful enough for those elections to go forward.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Jay

    Nuland is Pathetic

    April 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • ISaidIt

      Nuland is typical american, do what i say not what i do

      April 22, 2014 at 1:47 am | Reply
    • Ali Pourassadi

      ukraine-some American democracy!

      May 4, 2014 at 7:06 am | Reply
  2. Misha

    We all should take the liberty to recall to mind Victoria Nuland’s frightfully finer language about the European politicians some time ago. F..K YOU PALS, were very coolly and deliberately uttered words by which she made an estimate of European values! Dirty zeal of her mind is filling us again with a good deal of nonsense, apparently as the only possible chance to “save” Ukraine from Russia! Mr. Putin I beg you don't let them fool or frighten you!

    April 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Reply
    • Value

      A fundamental value that is worth observing – regardless of who one might be in this world – would be, "Do only those things to others that you would enjoy having done to YOU."

      If you would enjoy being shot and killed, having your freedoms taken away, ridiculed, hated, lied to, cheated, tortured, beaten ... to have your mother, father, aunt, uncle brother or sister molested or murdered....then by all means...engage in such activity.

      We are either virtuous people or we are not.

      We either respect the rights and values of other people or we don't

      We either improve the human condition in this world or we detract from it.

      Names don't need to be named. Nobody needs to be blamed....everyone's actions speak for themselves quite loudly for all to observe.

      The value of MY life...or YOUR life is in what "positive" and honest contributions WE make to the world around us.

      If what we are doing isn't making people's lives happier, more free, more prosperous...more worth living, then we are engaging in the wrong behavior and activities.

      If we must engage in lying, deception in any form of our communications, then we are producing nothing good in the world. Only we, in our private thoughts and heart know the truth.....only WE can make that change. Nobody else.

      Observe the world around us. We, collectively have created it.

      What are WE creating?

      Is it CONSTRUCTIVE or...DESTRUCTIVE?

      Do we make people smile...or...do we make people cry?

      That is the measure of your and my value in this world. It is up to you and me to decide who and what we will become.

      I don't blame anyone....I only encourage true, honest self evaluation by each individual...from state leaders all the way down to the street cleaning people and aggressors of all kinds.

      April 21, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • chandran

      i'm 100% agreeing with you the present day crisis in Ukraine started by her and she should take responsibility and
      resign from her post.

      April 22, 2014 at 3:03 am | Reply
    • Igor

      And I beg the Ukrainians and the Americans to never get frightened or distraught by Putin's actions. He is a typical dictator, a megalomaniac; in Russia itself, he is usually compared with an adolescent full of complexes who tries to prove how strong and cool he is. Thus he flies with the cranes, dives to the sea bottom, takes rides in subs, fighter planes, and tanks... And usually gets terribly offended when, instead of revering him for those crazy acts, people plainly laugh.

      April 22, 2014 at 6:02 am | Reply
    • Andre

      It is remarkable that Mme Nuland was not pulled over these inappropriate remarks and that has to do with the fact that the remarks stem from irresponsible leaks. Either way, Ukraine is European and Russian interest sphere, and it may turn out that she is a little arsonist herself, trying to promote a clash between Europeans and Russians. It is pointless to argue that Russia does interfere in Ukraine, of course it does.

      April 22, 2014 at 6:16 am | Reply
  3. MARCO

    What she is saying now is irrelevant, but the disclosure that America spent $4 Trillion on teaching Ukrainians "about democracy" and informing us about America's appointment as Prime Minister is very relevant, notwithstanding her foul mouth.

    April 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  4. MARCO

    Of course I meant $4 billion

    April 21, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  5. Sausage Frenzy

    “"You cannot dress yourself like a fire-fighter and behave like an arsonist,""

    Unless o course, you are the US successfully aiding the Israelis' to avoid their obligations to meet a just and fair two state solution for the last 70 years.....
    such hypocrites.

    April 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  6. menisino

    The Obama adm. is a complete failure on the int. scene. We see that every day as Putin & Lavrov are toying with Obama & Kerry. Syria, Ukraine, what have you, totally outclassed. It is embarrassing.

    April 21, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Reply
    • Andre

      Ukraine is the Russian backyard, and all Russian gasoline pipelines run through Ukraine, what do they expect from Russia to do? I can't see how an alien power can take sides in a civil war in Syria.

      April 22, 2014 at 6:20 am | Reply
  7. rippled

    What's this, Nulands entry for the 2014 irony awards?

    April 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  8. Alejandro

    Nuland nothing to do with it state robot, she does what she will order and USA...

    April 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  9. Screwed

    Nobody fails here. Mr Obama not failed. Putin not failed. Russia decided to doing things like Americans last 50 years. Russia is Super Nuclear power, why for god sake we need to confront with them. If they are crazy we do not need to follow him. We are strong and they are strong so, war is not opinion. We need to find different way to speak with them but making war with them is suicide.We need to stop to to play the world's policeman. Because of that nobody from EU countries and Asia, Africa truly like us.

    April 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  10. Simon

    There is so much that the west knows of what Mr. Putin is doing in Ukraine, but doing very little, why?

    The towns where pro Russian groups have taken over govt buildings & police stations might as well be considered to be part of Russia, nothing will happen. It is the same old story of Referendum & take over while Mr. Obama considers another round of sanctions against the inner circle.

    Could this turn of events have been avoided in Ukraine?

    What happens to other hot spots, even cold spots; Scottland, Western Sahara, Nothern Nigeria, Somaliland, etc?

    Is democracy and western values best practiced by support of separateist that the west will not do but silently allow Mr. Putin to persue on west's behalf?

    April 21, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  11. philby

    Omg, Nuland! this is not just presenting double standards – it is a total lack of common sense...

    April 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  12. james dean

    it is a beginning of WW3. Prior to WW2, Hitler made this type of encroaching to another countries territory.

    HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF IF WE DON'T LEARNED FROM IT

    PUTIN IS A MEGALOMANIAC

    April 21, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  13. elena

    Humiliating for the Obama administration to intervene in the politics of other countries. Just spend on this intervention taxpayers ' money.

    April 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  14. gentoo

    You can't expect people to take your broad-sweeping moral policy judgments seriously if you work for the US government...

    April 21, 2014 at 11:54 pm | Reply
  15. Bla

    You do realize sarcastic and all around stupid arguments (talking to you misha) just kinda help show your opinions are really bad? This isn't currently Ukraine where propaganda works through fear... all this talk about Russia possibly acting morally just sounds really stupid. Obama is a failure to the international scene? That doesn't even make sense, you can't just say something and have nothing behind it to prove it. Nothing anyone says here is worth reading. Talk is cheap.

    April 21, 2014 at 11:58 pm | Reply
    • lulz

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o&w=640&h=390]

      April 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  16. Ba

    WHY? If USA-angel, why?--
    Renovation of Sevastopol School #5, Ukraine Solicitation Number: N33191-13-R-1240
    Agency: Department of the Navy
    Office: Naval Facilities Engineering Command
    Location: NAVFAC Europe and Southwest Asia Synopsis:
    ADDED: Sep 05, 2013 2:58 am
    Added: Apr 15, 2014 5:18 am
    Due to the current climate in Ukraine, the subject solicitation is hereby cancelled.
    From https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2bb691b61c59be3a68180bd8c614a0cb&tab=core&_cview=1
    This school is LOCATED in CRIMEA. School is located in Sevastopol, where Russian military naval base.
    Note the date of application placement- Sep 05, 2013 2:58 am. 2013!!!!

    April 22, 2014 at 1:27 am | Reply
  17. lora

    Does anyone knows what GRU means and how its agents look like? To my knowledge, battle field is not their workplace and they prefer to be invisible. The bearded man... is he a mandatory artefact on photos from numerous military campaigns?

    April 22, 2014 at 2:12 am | Reply
    • Ba

      ++++))))

      April 22, 2014 at 2:17 am | Reply
  18. JEWISH MEDIA = CNN

    Jews scamming on how to control more of the Goyim. That's all this is about.

    April 22, 2014 at 2:33 am | Reply
    • lulz

      careful, "president" Oleksandr Turchnyov might recruit you!

      April 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  19. sergey

    "That money has been spent on supporting the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to have a strong, democratic government that represents their interests." Americans' 5 billion wasted as strong, democratic government has been overthrown during Maidan.

    April 22, 2014 at 2:35 am | Reply
  20. Jake

    This woman is not even a skillful liar, she's just a liar, and you can see the evil an lies in her eyes...

    April 22, 2014 at 3:57 am | Reply
  21. Serge99

    Wow, so many attention from FSB to this post. Good Lord, Russian propaganda is on a rise.

    April 22, 2014 at 4:45 am | Reply
    • Denis

      Look at this! https://vk.com/video_ext.php?oid=40492126&id=168495735&hash=6a681a810a8f045d&hd=1 (peaceful ukrainian protesters in Kiev killed policeman using a knife) They are not going to visit you! They are going to visit my home!
      Sanctions against Russia do not scare me in comparison with this!

      April 23, 2014 at 5:10 am | Reply
  22. Toppies Van Vuuren

    Read and understand the headline properly please! It seems Russia is fueling instability in the East.
    I am not saying the USA is good. Actually all major powers have a history of running roughshod over small nations

    April 22, 2014 at 4:50 am | Reply
  23. Arnold Lockshin

    Nuland supports the neo-Nazi Right Sector creating havoc in Ukraine.

    No surprise.

    Arnold Lockshin, political exile from the US living in Moscow

    April 22, 2014 at 4:53 am | Reply
  24. Gasteig

    I wonder if this woman, Vitoria Nuland even knows what she is talking about, married to one of the founders of the PNAC we can now see that the policies of Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2 are still very much alive ... the henchmen like Rumsfeld and Cheney as well as Dr. Brzezinski and our old man McCain push the agenda forward. Total hatred of the CCCP and now the Russian Federation because they don't roll over and play dead and allow Monsanto and Chevron to rape plllage and plunder not only the Ukraine but someday all of Russai. American greed knows no boundaries. After having killed most of the native Americans they turned their attention to Entral and South America and no Africa and of course Eastern Eueope and then the big prize, Russia. Sucking the resources out of countries is their Raison d'etre and all of this talk about "Democracy" is just one big lie. It is empty words. They are the most evil empire the world has ever known, cloaked in a coat of paltry cloth that they call Democracy ..... but what it reaslly is is much worse than any wolf in sheep's clothing. Be afraid of them, be very afraid. They are not who they pretend to be.

    April 22, 2014 at 4:59 am | Reply
  25. Real face of Russia

    Actually, pro Russian forces are real neo-nazis. Look at their channel on youtube. КПЕ ТВ .
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6yMH_COzKCmuvBd8ex-glg/videos

    This is propagated over all occupied territories at Slavyansk via cable, air TV channels. Channel is full of hatred, chauvinism, antisemitic text, etc.

    Real new face of Russia.

    April 22, 2014 at 5:45 am | Reply
  26. Harry Edmunds

    The Worlds greatest Fireman & arsonist !!, that's Uncles Sam's shstick, get back to drinking & thieving ,Russkies.

    April 22, 2014 at 7:01 am | Reply
  27. Michael

    Photographs of some bearded man taken in unidentified places by unknown sources is seriously used by the U.S. officials as the only proof of Russian GRU involvement in Ukrainian crisis.... this is just funny. Ukrainian government promised recently $10k for each GRU agent caught and delivered... so where they are?

    April 22, 2014 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • CoreGen

      I very well remember how we had a solid proof of WMD in Iraq and how Collin Powel was shaking a sugar powder in UN saying it is a biological weapon from Iraq!

      April 22, 2014 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • Suska

      I know about the reward offered by oligarch governor if Dniepetrovsk for the capture of "Moskals." It hasn't been touted much in the western media because it's pretty ugly and shows no willingness whatsoever to de-escalate on the part of the Kyiv government. It's this type of sentiment that precedes ethnic cleansing. If these people are allowed to have their way in all Ukraine, do you really think they will spare "Russian sympathizers" ? Why was this man appointed anyway? Can you imagine if the Republicans overthrew the US government and then dismissed Jerry Brown with Donald Trump? That's about the size of it.

      These people in East Ukraine have every right to be worried. Their own fate is being wrested from them by a very aggressive coup government back by the most powerful country on earth by all manner of unjust tactics, including outright lying to the world about who they really are and what they're up to. They won't allow a referendum because they are not about to give up control of the resource rich Donbas region. Indeed it is already spoken for by western companies. Eastern Ukrainians and what they want are immaterial to these people.

      Readers, you should familiarize yourselves with the "Project for a New American Century" of which Nuland's husband is a founding member and review the plan for dealing with Russia. Everything that is happening will become much clearer. Everything the US has accused Russia of, they have done or are doing. As someone pointed out, this is a war of perceptions.

      April 23, 2014 at 2:20 am | Reply
  28. stambo2001

    Only in American media can the person the rest of the world knows got caught with her pants down planning the Ukrainian coup go on camera and blame Russia for doing exactly what the USA itself has done around the globe. Nuland is about as evil as a slimy parasite can be.

    April 22, 2014 at 9:11 am | Reply
  29. CoreGen

    What Vicky is smoking? What kind of licenses from government to seize buildings in Kiev? From their parliament? or leases with building owners?! Videos on youtube are available – just search for "peaceful demonstrators in Ukraine".
    or wait, let's skim the profits – I am registering my firm that will issue licenses to seize building in South East of Ukraine :)
    Want to be protesters – just pay me for license, want to seize local police precinct? – $150K, local City Hall – $200K, etc... Firelighter station? – another $50K, Local hospitals – priceless!

    April 22, 2014 at 10:03 am | Reply
  30. D.Bose

    UN should take over Ukraine; divide it up into three: Catholic North-West, Central Ukranian Orthodox and East-South Russian Orthodox. UN should organize referendum and new elections. If the North-west want to join EU`s trade arrangement, fine. However, none of these units will be alllowed to join NATO.
    Otherwise Ukraine will be another Yugoslavia very soon.

    April 22, 2014 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • ITALIAN

      perfect
      And if you go behind on the history
      you will find that still was so in ancient time .
      This Big Ukraine never is existed before .
      This big Ukraine is son of Stalin ideologia
      for whom every Soviet republic
      had to be ethnically mixed
      and with a consistent part of russians .
      So
      for mix west Ukrainian from Galizia with russians of dombas
      Ukrainia become so extended on east side .
      Also "gift" of crimea to Ukraina
      wasn't a so unjustified and incomprehensible choice
      The Gift of Crimea was made with the express purpose of increase the number of ethnic Russians inside the Soviet republic of Ukraine
      where already at that time independist pressures were consistent in the west side of Ukraina
      Adding Crimea to Ukraine
      was restored the ethnic balance

      April 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  31. ITALIAN

    Americans !
    You must understand one thing
    russians never will give up Ukraine , never !
    IS like for you give up california or texas .
    For russians ukrainians aren't strangers .
    I am italian , but I was many many time in Russia ed Ukraine
    and if here there is something out of place
    this is your continued and insisted presence .
    What do you do here ?
    you are so far from your home
    so far from cultural contest of this 2 brother countries
    so far from history of this slice of world
    US is destinated to lose this game .

    April 22, 2014 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • Suska

      D. Bose and Italian, you have an excellent grasp of history here.

      I don't know about splitting it in three parts but definitely Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Odessa, Dnienopetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kherson and Zaporizhia should become the "Federal Republic of East Ukraine" or more colloquially, "East Ukraine." They should become part of Russia's Customs Union, a neutral buffer zone (like Finland) and be able to cross back and forth over the border with Russia freely.

      The rest of Ukraine, "West Ukraine," the regions who were actively involved in the Maidan protests should join the EU and NATO because this is what they want.

      This could be a win-win but Kyiv, backed by the western powers are aggressively pursuing a winner take all policy and it's really aimed at Russia. People of East Ukraine be damned.

      April 23, 2014 at 2:42 am | Reply
      • ITALIAN

        the fate of a buffer state like Finland
        must have the central ukraina
        and not the "Nova russia"
        as was for centuries known
        and
        about the fact that central UKR is so compact pro west
        and more
        pro NATo
        i am not sure

        April 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
  32. king

    America and Russia are playing jokes on the world really..imagine all this talk and later they have party over the dead bodies on earth..remember yo yo two guys rode on a dead mans chests

    April 22, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  33. king

    Let's organize a football match between America and Russia and winner takes Ukraine

    April 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  34. Kay Richardson

    Why is NOBODY mentioning the historical roots of this conflict - the Holomodor?
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-25058256

    April 22, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Reply
    • Suska

      No Kay. The regions that were affected by the Holodomor were mainly in the South East and also in Southern Russia. The ultra-Nationalists have always taken this up as a nationalist cause even although they were not the ones affected by it- and they have approached the entire matter much as the Jews approach the Holocaust. The thing about Ukrainian ultra-right is that their national scapegoat is Russia and Russian Jews.

      April 23, 2014 at 2:53 am | Reply
      • ITALIAN

        famine was throughout all USSR
        not only in ukraina

        What happened
        is that the central authorities took away food from Ukrainian
        for to help citizen of others USSR republics
        while Ukrainians are sure
        that were taken away only to starve them

        a very very restricted vision of historical facts

        April 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
  35. king

    Stupid Putin and crazy Obama are just dumb heads

    April 22, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  36. Adam Smith

    Jews, bringing problems wherever they go. Why we should get involved in a country on the other side of the world – and spend taxpayer money there – is beyond me. Oh, and this article is a disgusting propaganda piece.

    April 22, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Reply

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