Mon, 21st Aug 2017 14:35
MOSCOW (Alliance News) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday appointed a new ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, a career official who is on the EU’s sanctions list because of Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict.
Antonov, who was serving as Russia’s deputy foreign minister until the appointment, was Russia’s deputy defence minister from 2011 until 2016. He has been on the EU’s sanctions list since 2015.
The EU has accused Antonov of being “involved in supporting the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine,” according to the description by his name on the sanctions list.
As deputy defence minister, Antonov participated in shaping policies that “threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” according to the sanctions list.
Antonov replaces veteran ambassador Sergei Kislyak, who served at the post for almost a decade, during which some of the most turbulent events in bilateral relations have occurred.
Several close associates of US President Donald Trump have been under investigation for what could have been unlawful interactions with Russian officials, including Kislyak, before Trump’s election.
Russia and the US set out to reset their relations soon after Kislyak was appointed in 2008, in an optimistic venture initiated by the administration of the US president at the time, Barack Obama.
However, the deal unravelled just a few years later during the NATO-led intervention against long-time Russian ally Libya in 2011. Libya is now widely considered a failed state.
Then, in 2014, US-Russian relations plummeted to their worst point since the Cold War when Russia annexed a part of neighbouring Ukraine in retaliation for Kiev ousting its pro-Russian president amid mass protests calling for closer ties with the West.
The Kremlin did not immediately say what, if any, position Kislyak will now hold.