WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Republican Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has accepted President Donald Trump‘s offer to be ambassador to Russia, an administration official said Wednesday.
The work, which requires Senate confirmation, would place Huntsman in Moscow at a time when ties between the United States and Russia have sunk to a post-Cold War low.
Huntsman served as ambassador to China under Democratic President Barack Obama before launching a botched bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump has said he wants to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who deteriorated under Obama over issues such as Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian Crimea and the two countries’ backing for opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.
Tensions peaked in December when Obama expelled 35 suspected Russian spies after US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia hacked and leaked Democratic emails during the 2016 election campaign as part of an effort to tip the vote in favor. of Trump. The Kremlin has denied the accusations.
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