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Russia’s Ambassador To US Says His Assignment Coming To An End

Anatoly Antonov, Russia's Ambassador to the United States

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, has said his assignment is coming to an end.

The end of the Russian diplomat’s posting would pave the way for Moscow to send a new envoy to Washington. This is crucial at a time when relations are at their worst in decades.

The United States and Russia are at odds over Moscow’s war in Ukraine and ties have deteriorated to their lowest level since at least the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

In February, 2023 Antonov claimed that Washington is attempting to demonise Russia and “fuel the Ukrainian crisis” by accusing Moscow of crimes against humanity.

Antonov’s exit was flagged on Thursday by Russia’s Kommersant newspaper, which spotted a handwritten note that Antonov had sent to congratulate a Moscow think-tank on its 30th anniversary.

“My assignment is coming to an end. I hope that together we will continue to defend the interests of our Fatherland”, Antonov, a military official and diplomat, wrote in the congratulatory letter, dated June 29.

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When asked about the matter on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was cited by the Interfax news agency as telling reporters:

“There is no reason to comment here. Everyone can have their own personal plans. Decisions on the appointment and change of ambassadors are made by the President.”

President Vladimir Putin had issued an Executive Order appointing Anatoly Antonov Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the United States and, concurrently, Permanent Observer of the Russian Federation at the Organisation of American States in Washington, USA.

Antonov who has a  reputation of being a hardliner and tough negotiator, Antonov took up his post in Washington in September 2017. He took over the post from Sergey Kislyak who had been the ambassador since 2008.

Before that, he served as a deputy defence minister and as a deputy foreign minister.

(With Inputs From Reuters)