Some believe that the US is just an innocent, passive bystander that wants to defend Ukrainian democracy. But not Glenn Greenwald and Aaron Maté.
In his YouTube video – The War in Ukraine – Greenwald takes issues with the “passive bystander” narrative. He claims that the US has been very involved with the internal governance of Ukraine going back at least to the Maidan Revolution in 2014.
You can watch the entire video, but the key section on the US involvement in Ukrainian governance is listed below.
In addition to the Greenwald video, the reference section provides a link to a BBC article by Jonathan Marcus that discusses an alleged recording of Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt discussing the internal governance of Ukraine in 2014.
Greenwald and Maté also discuss the Nuland-Pyatt recording, but they only provide a small sample of the transcript. For more detail, see the Jonathan Marcus article.
Glen Greenwald video (see reference section for the YouTube link):
beginning time code: 49:21
ending time code: 52:39
[The narrative commonly put forward is that] Russia is attacking a country on their border and that the United States is nothing but this innocent, passive bystander – this onlooker wanting to defend a Ukrainian democracy, an independent sovereign state.
The reality is completely different.
United states has been extremely involved, actively involved in the internal governance of Ukraine since at least what some called the [Maidan] revolution (and others called the coup) in 2014 that [ousted Viktor Yanukovych] installed a pro-EU, pro-West leader [Oleksandr Turchynov].
You obviously all remember the scandal of how Hunter Biden (Joe Biden’s son) was paid $50,000 a month to sit on the board of Burisma Energy, despite [the fact that he has] no experience with, or competence in, any energy industry, much less Ukrainian energy.
And everyone knows why he was paid that money. It was because the Ukrainians were desperate to get access and influence with Joe Biden. [And] why were the Ukrainians so desperate to get access and influence with Joe Biden?
It was because Joe Biden, as Obama’s Vice President, was essentially running Ukraine. He was picking and choosing which prosecutors should be fired or hired, and the United States essentially chose who the Ukrainian leader would be in 2014.
Here is a tweet from Aaron Maté who remembered that a video or audio from then senior US official Victoria Nuland, who at the time was a senior Obama State Department official (and now is a senior Biden State Department official), and then US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt were talking on the phone in a leaked conversation. [In this conversation they] they are basically just [sitting] there openly choosing the Ukrainian government.
[FMB: See Maté tweet in the reference section below. Time code for tweet image: 50:50]
They picked and chose who was going to be part of the Ukrainian government – that’s how involved the US has been. Listen to them do that:
[FMB: See Nuland-Pyatt recording in the reference section below.]
Okay, does that sound like an independent, sovereign democracy that the United States has been keeping out of.
Of course not, they were running Ukraine for the interests of the United States right on the Russian border.
Is it hard to understand why Russia considered that threatening? [This is] especially [true give that] the US political [class and the] US political media class were demanding that Russia be viewed increasingly as an enemy in order to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency.
Imagine if Russia were choosing the Mexican president, or the Chinese were in Canada picking and choosing who their prosecutors were. [In other words, they were] so involved that they were basically acting like a colonial power running Canada and Mexico right on our borders.
The War in Ukraine
by Glenn Greenwald
25 February 2022
Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call
7 February 2014
An apparently bugged phone conversation in which a senior US diplomat disparages the EU over the Ukraine crisis has been posted online. The alleged conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, appeared on YouTube on Thursday. It is not clearly when the alleged conversation took place.
Jonathan Marcus: At the outset it should be clear that this is a fragment of what may well be a larger phone conversation. But the US has not denied its veracity and has been quick to point a finger at the Russian authorities for being behind its interception and leak.
FMB: This BBC article provides a much more extensive transcript along with explanatory notes.
FMB: Also, the alleged conversation appears on YouTube at:
Aaron Maté tweet on Feb. 24, 2022
Time code of tweet image in Greenwald vide: 50:50
Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate)
Just listen to senior US official Victoria Nuland & then-US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, choosing the new Ukrainian govt in 2014. This call was followed by a coup, & billions of dollars in US weapons since. How would US respond if Russia did this in Canada?
Nuland-Pyatt recording in the Greenwald video
beginning time code: 51:28
ending time code: 51:55
Victoria Nuland: I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the … what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week you know. I just think Klitsch going in …. he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk. It’s just not going to work.
Geoffrey Pyatt: Yeah, no I think that that’s right.
Full Transcript of Nuland-Pyatt recording from the Marcus article.
Voice thought to be Nuland’s: What do you think?
Voice thought to be Pyatt’s: I think we’re in play. The Klitschko [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk, another opposition leader]. And I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I’m very glad that he said what he said in response.
Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Pyatt: Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him 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. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.
Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.
Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?
Nuland: My understanding from that call – but you tell me – was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was going to offer in that context a… three-plus-one conversation or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it?
Pyatt: No. I think… I mean that’s what he proposed but I think, just knowing the dynamic that’s been with them where Klitschko has been the top dog, he’s going to take a while to show up for whatever meeting they’ve got and he’s probably talking to his guys at this point, so I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn’t like it.
Nuland: OK, good. I’m happy. Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.
Pyatt: OK, will do. Thanks.
Nuland: OK… one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can’t remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?
Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.
Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.
Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I’m still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there’s a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I’m sure there’s a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep… we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.
Nuland: So on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [US vice-president’s national security adviser Jake] Sullivan’s come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need [US Vice-President Joe] Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden’s willing.
Pyatt: OK. Great. Thanks.