The Estonian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the recording of his conversation with EU foreign policy chief is authentic. Urmas Paet said that snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were hired by Maidan leaders.
Paet told RIA-Novosti news agency that he talked to Catherine Ashton last week right after retiring from Kiev, but refrained from further comments, saying that he has to “listen to the tape first.”
“It’s very disappointing that such surveillance took place altogether. It’s not a coincidence that this conversation was uploaded [to the web] today,” he stressed.
“My conversation with Ashton took place last week right after I returned from Kiev. At that time I was already in Estonia,” Paet added.
Paet also gave a press conference about the leaked tape on Wednesday, saying that the dramatic events in Kiev, which resulted in people being killed, must become the subject of an independent investigation.
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement on its website, saying that the recording of the leaked telephone conversation between Paet and Ashton is “authentic.”
The phone call took place on February 26 after Estonia’s FM returned from his visit to Ukraine, which took place soon after the end of street violence in Kiev, the ministry added.
“We reject the claim that Paet was giving an assessment of the opposition’s involvement in the violence,”the statement stressed, adding that the FM was only providing an overview of what he had heard during his Kiev visit.
RT has contacted Ashton’s spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic, who said “we don’t comment on leaked phone conversations.”
The US government declined to comment on the leaked phone conversation between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and the Estonian foreign affairs minister.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she had nothing to say on the issue, ITAR-TASS reported. However, she did accuse Russia of leaking the tape, stating that “this was another example of how the Russians work.”
The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25, following the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.
It was reportedly uploaded to the web by officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to ousted President Viktor Yanukovich who hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones.
During the conversation, Paet stressed that “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”
According to the Estonian FM, “all the evidence shows” that the “same snipers” at Maidan were shooting at people from both sides – the police and the protesters.
Ashton reacted to the information by saying: “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible,” adding that the matter is worth investigating.
94 people were killed and another 900 injured during the standoff between police and protesters at Maidan Saquare in Kiev last month.