The new US ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, will arrive to the Russian capital on Thursday.
Sullivan will replace Jon Huntsman who tendered his resignation in early August and left Russia in the beginning of October as his mandate expired.
In mid-October, US President Donald Trump nominated Sullivan and submitted his candidacy to the US Senate for approval. On November 20, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved his candidacy. About a month later, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo administered the new ambassador’s oath of office, TASS reports.
Sullivan served as US Acting Secretary of State between April 1 and 26, 2018 following the resignation of Rex Tillerson. In July 2019, Sullivan led a US delegation in Geneva at the talks with Russia on the strategic security.
Sullivan said in mid-December that his work in Moscow would focus on areas where Moscow and Washington can still cooperate despite current contradictions. He said the priority would be on the issues of the arms control in the interests of both countries, exchange of information in the sphere of anti-terrorism fight, security in the Arctic as well as other issues.
According to the US embassy, "Ambassador Sullivan looks forward to enhancing the overall bilateral relationship and strengthening U.S.-Russian cooperation on several global and regional issues of mutual interest."
Ahead of Sullivan’s arrival, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Russia had "realistic expectations in connection with the new ambassador’s arrival" He also expressed hope that the new US Ambassador to Russia will contribute to breaking the deadlock in the dialogue between Moscow and Washington, including on bilateral issues and arms control.
"We would like to hope that US Ambassador to Moscow Sullivan will work on mending ties, which are in a challenging situation. We hope that we will start overcoming the crisis at least in some areas such as drifts on the bilateral track and arms control and start moving towards a more constructive agenda even by slow steps," Ryabkov told reporters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his US counterpart Michael Pompeo last month that he would be glad to work with John Sullivan, whom he described as "a highly professional and experienced diplomat."
The Russian Foreign Ministry released a greeting message for the ambassador on Wednesday.
"New US Ambassador John Sullivan is preparing to move to Moscow, and Russia has been waiting for him for a long time. We’ll see to it whether the weather in Moscow is the same as in Washington. We wonder whether John Sullivan will want to follow in Jon Huntsman’s footsteps and plunge into Russia’s realities. Russia is waiting, Mr. Sullivan. Take a deep dive," the message reads.