US Senate confirms Sullivan as next US ambassador to Russia

WASHINGTON: The US Senate on Thursday (Dec 12) confirmed the nomination of John Sullivan, President Donald Trump's pick to be Ambassador to Russia, at a time when ties between Washington and Moscow have been strained.

Sullivan, a lawyer who has served in previous Republican administrations before becoming deputy secretary of State in 2017, will replace Jon Huntsman, who resigned in August after two years in the post amid speculation that he will run for Utah governor.

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Sullivan will be the top US diplomat in Russia at a particularly challenging time in the bilateral relationship, which is strained over a number of disagreements on Ukraine, the Syrian civil war and Iran's influence in the Middle East, on top of US allegations of Russian meddling in American elections.

Moscow denies the allegations.

Russia's blossoming ties with China is also a source of concern for US policymakers.

Sullivan's confirmation also comes at a critical time in Trump's presidency, which has been shaken by an impeachment inquiry in which Democrats are accusing him of abusing his power by trying to force Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

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Former Vice President Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to run against Trump next year.

On Thursday, US lawmakers moved closer to impeaching Republican Trump, as members of a Democratic-led House of Representatives committee debated formal charges likely to be sent to the full House for a vote next week.

Sullivan's confirmation follows a visit earlier this week by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Washington, where he met with his US counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Trump.

The visit has revived allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US electionRead More – Source