Victoria Nuland

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Victoria Nuland
Victoria Nuland State Department.jpg
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
In office
September 18, 2013 – January 25, 2017
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Deputy John A. Heffern[1]
Preceded by Philip Gordon
Succeeded by John A. Heffern (Acting)
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State
In office
May 31, 2011 – February 11, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Philip Crowley
Succeeded by Jen Psaki
United States Ambassador to NATO
In office
June 20, 2005 – May 2, 2008
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Nicholas Burns
Succeeded by Kurt Volker
Personal details
Born Victoria Jane Nuland
1961 (age 55–56)
Baker, Louisiana, U.S.
Spouse(s) Robert Kagan
Alma mater Brown University
Nuland meeting with Georgian defense ministry leadership, December 6, 2013
John Kerry and Victoria Nuland with Ukrainian opposition leaders Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk and Klitschko, Munich, February 1, 2014
US officials Assistant Secretary Nuland and Ambassador to Ukraine Pyatt greet Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw on June 4, 2014

Victoria Jane Nuland (born 1961) was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State.[2] She holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service.[3]

Education and personal life[edit]

Victoria Nuland was born in 1961 to Jewish parents Sherwin B. Nuland (born Shepsel Ber Nudelman) and Rhona McKhann.[4] She graduated with a B.A. in 1983 from Brown University, where she studied Russian literature, political science, and history.[5] Nuland’s husband is Robert Kagan, an American historian and foreign-policy commentator at the Brookings Institution.


During the Bill Clinton administration, Nuland was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott before moving on to serve as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs.

She served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as U.S. ambassador to NATO.

Nuland became special envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and then became State Department spokesperson in summer 2011.[6]

She was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in May 2013 and sworn in to fill that role in September 2013.[7] During her confirmation hearings, she faced "sharp questions" about a memo she had sent outlining the talking points that would be used by the Obama administration in the days shortly after the 2012 Benghazi attack.[8]

In her role as Assistant Secretary, she has been the lead U.S. point person for the Ukrainian crisis. She was a key figure in establishing loan guarantees to Ukraine, including a $1 billion loan guarantee in 2014, and the provisions of non-lethal assistance to the Ukrainian military and border guard.[9][10] Along with Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, she is seen as a leading supporter of defensive weapons delivery to Ukraine. In 2016, Nuland urged Ukraine to start prosecuting corrupt officials: "It's time to start locking up people who have ripped off the Ukrainian population for too long and it is time to eradicate the cancer of corruption".[11]

On January 26, 2017 Victoria Nuland received a letter sent by the White House that her services were no longer required.[12]

Leaked phone conversation[edit]

On February 4, 2014, a recording of a phone call between Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on January 28, 2014 was published on YouTube.[13][14] The State Department and the White House suggested that an assistant to the deputy prime minister of Russia Dmitry Rogozin was the source of the leak, which he denied.[15][16][17]

In their phone conversation, Nuland and Pyatt discussed who should be in the government after Viktor Yanukovych's ouster and in what ways they might achieve that transition, with the name of Arseniy Yatsenyuk (whom Nuland refers to as "Yats") coming up several times. Specifically, the two spoke about which opposition leaders they would like to see in government, what pitches they would give each opposition leader in subsequent calls to achieve this, and strategies on how they would try to manage the 'personality problems' and conflicts between the different opposition leaders with ambitions to become president.[14][15] Yatsenyuk became prime minister of Ukraine on February 27, 2014.[18]

In the recording, Nuland makes an obscene reference to the European Union.[19] After discussing Ukrainian opposition figures Nuland states that she prefers the United Nations as mediator, instead of the European Union, adding "Fuck the EU", and Pyatt responds, "Oh, exactly ...."[14][20]

According to the Washington Post,

[Nuland] was dismissively referring to slow-moving European efforts to address political paralysis and a looming fiscal crisis in Ukraine. But it was the blunt nature of her remarks, rather than U.S. diplomatic calculations, that seemed exceptional.
Nuland also assessed the political skills of Ukrainian opposition figures with unusual candor and, along with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, debated strategy for their cause, laying bare a deep degree of U.S. involvement in affairs that Washington officially says are Ukraine’s to resolve.

"She has been in contact with her EU counterparts, and of course has apologized," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who also acknowledged the authenticity of the recording.[21][22]

Initially, a spokeswoman for EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton stated on the same day that the EU would not comment on a "leaked alleged" conversation.[19] The next day, however, Christiane Wirtz, Deputy Government Spokesperson and Deputy Head of the Press and Information Office of the German Federal Government, stated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel termed Nuland's remark "absolutely unacceptable."[23] The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, condemned the remark as "unacceptable."[24]

After the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, Nuland resigned from the Department of State. [25]


  1. ^ "Bureau Senior Officials". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Bureau of Public Affairs Front Office Changes". 
  3. ^ "PN1907 - 2 nominees for Foreign Service, 114th Congress (2015-2016)". December 7, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Swearing-in Ceremony for Victoria Nuland as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs". Retrieved 2015-04-01. 
  5. ^ Schwartzapfel, Beth (April 2013). "ALUMS IN THE STATE DEPT: No Praying from the Podium". Brown Alumni Magazine. 
  6. ^ "Victoria Nuland to be State Department spokesman". Foreign Policy. May 16, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Obama nominates Nuland for assistant secretary of state". Politico. May 23, 2013. [1].
  8. ^ Hughes, Siobhan (July 11, 2013). "Nominee Nuland Takes Heat Over Benghazi at Hearing - Washington Wire - WSJ". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Nuland On Ukraine". Voice of America. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  10. ^ Victoria Nuland (4 March 2015). "Testimony on Ukraine Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee". U.S. State Department. Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  11. ^ Isabela Cocoli (27 April 2016). "US Urges Ukraine to Jail Corrupt Officials". Voice of America. Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Wave Of State Department Personnel Resign, Are Fired As Tillerson Takes Control - Zero Hedge". January 26, 2017. 
  13. ^ Re Post (February 4, 2014). "Марионетки Майдана" [Puppets in the Public Square (marionetke maidana)]. youtube. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c "Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call", BBC News, February 7, 2014, retrieved October 9, 2014 
  15. ^ a b Chiacu, Doina; Mohammed, Arshad (Feb 6, 2014). "Leaked audio reveals embarrassing U.S. exchange on Ukraine, EU". Reuters. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  16. ^ "BBC News - Victoria Nuland: Leaked phone call 'impressive tradecraft'". BBC Online. February 7, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  17. ^ Ed Pilkington, Luke Harding and agencies (February 7, 2014). "Angela Merkel: Victoria Nuland's remarks on EU are unacceptable". Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Ukraine's Arseniy Yatsenyuk warns of tough days ahead". BBC News. February 26, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Leaked audio reveals embarrassing US exchange on Ukraine, EU, Reuters (February 6, 2014)
  20. ^ Atlas, Terry; Gaouette, Nicole (February 6, 2013). "Intercepted Phone Call Shows U.S. Role in Ukraine". Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Gearan, Anne. In recording of U.S. diplomat, blunt talk on Ukraine, Washington Post, February 6, 2014.
  22. ^ "Top US diplomat for Europe caught swearing about EU". Express Tribune. AFP. February 7, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  23. ^ Angela Merkel: Victoria Nuland's remarks on EU are unacceptable, The Guardian (February 7, 2014)
  24. ^ Kauffmann, Sylvie (February 9, 2014), "Les cinq leçons du " fuck the EU ! " d'une diplomate américaine" [The five lessons of "fuck the EU" from an American diplomat], Le Monde, retrieved February 9, 2014 
  25. ^ CNN, Elise Labott. "Top State Department officials asked to leave". 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Nicholas Burns
United States Ambassador to NATO
Succeeded by
Kurt Volker
Political offices
Preceded by
Philip Crowley
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State
Succeeded by
Jen Psaki
Preceded by
Philip Gordon
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Succeeded by
John A. Heffern