US Diplomat Who Played Key Role In 2014 Ukraine Coup Announces Retirement

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Ryan Quinn Contributor
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Victoria Nuland, the third-ranking member of the State Department and a key actor during and after the Euromaidan in Ukraine, has announced her retirement. 

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced Tuesday in a press statement the end of her years of “service under six Presidents and ten Secretaries of State.” Blinken added that Nuland has worked with a variety of governments throughout her more than 30-year career with the State Department.

Nuland’s work in Ukraine would stand out, according to the secretary, who wrote, “But it’s Toria’s leadership on Ukraine that diplomats and students of foreign policy will study for years to come.”

The Euromaidan, also called the Maidan Uprising, occurred from Nov. 2013 to Feb. 2014, when President Yanukovych “fled the country,” according to Open Society Foundations. Nuland was appointed as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in Sept. 2013, her State Department profile said.

The diplomat was outspoken in her support for Ukraine and in her opposition to Russia, according to The Hill. Nuland outlined U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s politics and institutions since the country gained independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, claiming the U.S. had invested $5 billion there in a speech in 2013.

She also gave the United States government’s stance on what happened on Euromaidan.

“What began on November 24th as a protest against President Yanukovych’s decision to pause on the route to Europe has become much deeper and bigger. After blood was spilled by security forces on November 30th the movement also became about … a modern democratic government,” the assistant secretary said at the time.

Noland further gave her perspective on her meeting with Yanukovych, ousted as Ukraine’s president by Euromaidan. “It was a tough conversation, but a realistic one.” She said she explained that the behavior of his government during Euromaidan was “absolutely impermissible in a European state, in a democratic state.”

An unidentified Russian official alleged that the U.S. government was “crudely interfering” in Ukraine’s internal political affairs, The New York Times reported in 2014.

Nuland found herself at the center of controversy in 2014 when a leaked phone recording to the U.S.’s then-ambassador to Ukraine caught her saying, “Fuck the EU,” ABC News reported at the time. The conversation centered on increasing the role of the United Nations in Ukraine, according to a transcript provided by the BBC. Nuland later apologized after backlash, which included criticism from then-Chancellor Angela Merkl of Germany, according to the BBC

In February, Nuland appeared on CNN calling for more funding for Ukraine, in addition to the previous $73 billion that the U.S. has already provided. She said the United States would preserve “a free and open international order” and “tighten the noose” on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nuland’s retirement comes just one month after she was passed over for a promotion to deputy secretary of state, according to The Associated Press. After reportedly departing following Trump’s election as President, she returned to the State Department to serve as under secretary of state for political affairs.

Under Secretary for Management John Bass has been asked to serve in her on an acting basis, the outlet reported.