17 June 2014, 10:03

Psaki defends Ukranian FM unsavory remarks

Psaki defends Ukranian FM unsavory remarks

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki tried to defend some distinctly unsavory remarks by Ukrainian politicians. Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchitsa has become embroiled in an unusual diplomatic row after he was caught on camera making abusive remarks about Vladimir Putin outside the Russian embassy in Kiev.

"He's been encouraging calm, encouraging a peaceful resolution, and I would otherwise point you to the Ukrainians on the meaning of the language used, but I think the context here of what effort he was undergoing is an incredibly important part," Psaki said.

Whether Deshchitsa truly succeeded in his aims of quelling the crowd is questionable – the video shows his words being immediately picked up and turned into a football chant.

While the Russian embassy did not get torched, one international incident was replaced with another after an official press release from Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, in which anti-Kiev militias in eastern Ukraine were described as "sub-human" separatists.

"I think the Prime Minister's behavior and his leadership has been consistently in support of a peaceful resolution," Psaki said, refusing to answer whether she felt okay with the Ukrainian official using the Nazi-like word "subhuman" to describe the Russians.

Psaki also commented on Russian gas giant Gazprom's move to switch Ukraine to a natural gas prepayment plan – but she struggled with the differences between oil and gas.

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