In a letter to Barroso, Chizhov said that media reports “say you allegedly shared the content of the conversation with some of your EU colleagues, in particular attributing to the Russian president words that were clearly taken out of context.”
The Russian president allegedly made the comments during a phone conversation about the Ukraine crisis with Barroso, who reportedly related them to colleagues at last week’s European Union summit.
“If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks,” Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper quoted Putin as saying, implying that this could be the fallout if the EU stepped up sanctions against Russia.
Chizhov said such disclosure of confidential conversations at this level “goes far beyond the bounds of the generally accepted diplomatic practice.”
“I am aware that the administration of the Russian President has both a written and audio recording of the telephone conversation in question and to clarify things is ready to release them if you do not inform [us] of your objections to the release in the next two days,” he wrote, according to the Russian news agency [us]
Earlier, in Moscow, Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, had also accused Borosso of breaching diplomatic confidentiality and of takingn Putin’s words out of context, the Russian [us].
EUROPE TRIP: [us]
Putin’s comment reportedly came in response to Barroso pointing out Ukrainian and Western claims that Russia had sharply escalated the conflict in eastern Ukraine by sending regular army units into Ukraine.
NATO has estimated that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers have entered Ukraine, helping turn the tide in favor of pro-Russian insurgents.
Ushakov accused Barroso of violating diplomatic practices to speak publicly about a private conversation. “If that was really done, it looks not worthy of a serious political figure,” Ushakov said. “Irrespective of whether these words were pronounced or not, this quote was taken out of context and had a very different meaning.”
The war of words from Moscow emerged as representatives of Ukraine, Russia, pro-Russian rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are holding talks in Minsk, the Belarus capital, to try to resolve the festering Ukraine crisis.
The talks on Monday lasted several hours and were adjourned until Friday, when the parties are expected to discuss specifics of a possible cease-fire and a prisoner exchange.
In Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday urged the United States to use its influence in Ukraine to encourage efforts to reach a political settlement. “It’s necessary to restrain the party of war in Kiev, and only the United States can do it,” he said at a briefing.
Lavrov also said that “compromise” is the only way to resolve the crisis and accused the West of supporting Kiev and undermining the peace process.
The Ukraine crisis will be high on the agenda for President Obama, who was scheduled to leave Tuesday for a four-day European trip meant to reassure NATO allies and send a stern message to Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.
Obama will also attend a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday that will include Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday in Brussels that the alliance will create a Readiness Action Plan in response to “Russia’s aggressive behavior.”
“We already have a NATO Response Force. This is a multinational force, which brings together land, air, maritime and special operation forces,” Rasmussen said. “It can be deployed anywhere in the world, for collective defense or crisis management.”
Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists have been battling since mid-April in eastern Ukraine, with rebels claiming independence for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. More than 2,500 have died in the fighting.
In the latest clashes, rebels have opened up a new front in the war with an offensive along the coast of the Sea of Azov. Ukraine has charged that Russian military equipment and troops crossed the border last week to bolster the offensive.
Russia has denied sending any soldiers or equipment to the rebels, although rebels have acknowledged that fighters include Russian “volunteers” and some Russian soldiers on home leave.
Contributing: Associated Press
Follow Doug Stanglin on Twitter: @dstanglin