Putin appoints new U.S. ambassador to replace Kislyak

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Aug. 21, 2017 at 11:46 AM
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Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The office of Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday the Kremlin leader has named a new ambassador to the United States -- amid ongoing tensions between Moscow and Washington, D.C.

Putin appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov to serve as his chief diplomat to the United States.

Putin's order relieves Sergei Kislyak of his duties as ambassador and Russia's permanent OAS observer.

Kislyak has been a central figure in the U.S. Russia investigations -- because he met with several of President Donald Trump's representatives before, during and after the November presidential election.

Meetings with Kislyak led to the firing of national security adviser Michael T. Flynn -- as well as the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the Justice Department's inquiry into reputed Russian electoral interference.

Antonov's appointment comes during a time of continuing diplomatic tensions between Russia and the United States, largely over the Kremlin's purported interference in the election.

Also Monday, the U.S. Mission in Russia said it will suspend visa operations in the Eastern European country -- the latest move in a diplomatic row between the two nations.

Antonov previously served as Russia's deputy minister of defense.

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