The US ambassador to Russia is leaving the post to retire

WASHINGTON – The US Ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, ended his tenure as America’s top diplomat in Moscow on Sunday after nearly three years spanning the Trump and Biden administrations, and will retire from a long career in public service, the embassy announced. His departure comes as Russia’s war with Ukraine is in the seventh month.

His four-decade career in public service includes positions as Deputy Secretary of State and senior positions in the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Commerce.

Elizabeth Rudd, deputy chief of mission to Russia, will be the first US diplomat in Moscow until a successor nominated by President Joe Biden replaces Sullivan.

On Saturday, Sullivan attended a memorial service in Moscow for former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday.

The departure comes at a time when relations between the US and Russia remain strained. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the war has slowed, with the two sides trading blows and making little progress in the east and south. Both Russia and Ukraine have seen thousands of soldiers killed and wounded, and Russian bombing of cities has killed countless innocent civilians.

The US has imposed multiple waves of sanctions on Russia and provided military aid worth billions of dollars to Ukraine, shifting to a longer-term support strategy in recent weeks.

In April 2021, Sullivan returned to the US for consultationsafter officials in Moscow “suggested” he follow the lead of Russia’s ambassador to Washington, who was recalled by Washington after Biden described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “murderer.”

A native of Boston, Sullivan was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate with unusually strong bipartisan support as ambassador to Russia in December 2019. Biden asked him to stay on when Biden took office last year.

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