The way the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) monitored European leaders' phones was "absolutely cynical", Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, adding that he shares the foreign leaders' anger.
"You see, when one says that it is normal practice, everyone understands that the interest in the activities of foreign leaders and foreign states certainly exists. That is what special services are for. But, presumably, such steps should not be taken in such an absolutely cynical fashion," Medvedev told the Reuters news agency, according to the Russian government's press service.
"Generally speaking, it is not particularly nice to be spied upon. It does not matter who is the target of espionage. That is why the leaders were offended. I understand them," he said.
"I am not sure but it has been said that they also tried to tap my phones when I attended different summits as [Russia's] president," he said.
"The latest situation only helped bring this problem to the surface, angering the leaders," the Russian prime minister said.
Although it is still possible to try to minimize the damage caused by this situation, other countries are unlikely to believe Americans in the future, he said.
"Is it possible to calm this situation? I think it can be done. Although, frankly speaking, no assurances will be helpful. What can be said in this situation? Will "We apologize. We will not do so anymore" be an appropriate answer? Or is it "We will not try to tap you anymore"? No one will believe them," Medvedev said.
Ex-U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that NSA was monitoring communications of the governments of Germany, Italy, Greece, France and other European countries. The leaders of most European countries were angered by these reports and demanded an explanation from Washington.
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