MOSCOW, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, announced Tuesday he would leave his post at the end of February to rejoin his family in California.
"This is my last blog as the U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation," McFaul wrote Tuesday. "Soon after the Olympics, I plan to rejoin my family in California. After more than five years working in the Obama administration, it is time to go home."
His wife and two sons returned to California last summer.
"I love my job here. It has been a tremendous honor to represent my country in Russia and I made this decision with a heavy heart," McFaul said. "I will greatly miss interacting with my partners in the Russian government and with Russians from all sectors of society and business."
McFaul said that he was proud to be part of the Obama administration in Washington and Russia, helping to produce a "real record of achievement on some of America's most vital national interests," such as the new Start treaty on nuclear arms reduction, Russia's accession into the World Trade Organization and a 60 percent growth in trade.
He also expressed pride in the diplomatic work done concerning more difficult issues, including the Russian ban on adoptions by U.S. parents, the granting of temporary asylum to U.S. secrets-leaker Edward Snowden and "our different assessments" on the causes and consequences of political change in the Middle East and Ukraine.
"Yet," McFaul wrote, "I leave Russia with a strong feeling of satisfaction for how our administration handled these issues without compromising our interests or values."