Obama Picks Career Envoy as Next Ambassador to Russia

President Barack Obama plans to nominate the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine as his new envoy to Moscow as U.S.-Russia relations are at a post-Cold War low.

John F. Tefft, a veteran member of the foreign service, is being nominated to replace Michael McFaul, who left the Moscow post in February, the White House said in a statement.

Russia formally accepted the appointment of Tefft yesterday, with Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov calling him ‘a high-quality diplomat, a professional diplomat.’’

Tefft, who was in Ukraine from 2009 to 2013 and previously served as ambassador to Georgia, would be taking the post at a time when the U.S. and Russia are at odds over Ukraine.

The U.S. and European Union have imposed sanctions on companies and individuals tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle following Russia’s incursion and annexation of Crimea in March. The U.S. and EU, threatening further sanctions, have accused Putin’s government of supporting separatists battling Ukrainian forces and threatening the stability of the government in Kiev.

The nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

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