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U.S., EU Ambassadors Leave Russia as Tenures End


U.S., EU Ambassadors Leave Russia as Tenures End

The ambassadors of the United States and the European Union in Russia have left Moscow after ending their diplomatic tenures, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement and Russian media reported as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plunged relations to their lowest point since the Cold War.

John Sullivan, 62, left Russia on Sunday and will retire from four deccades of public service under five U.S. presidents, the embassy said. Sullivan was appointed ambassador to Moscow in December 2019.

Sullivan was assistant secretary of state under the presidency of Donald Trump, and held several senior positions in the justice, defense and commerce ministries throughout his career.

“Elizabeth Rood will assume duties as Charge d’Affaires at U.S. Embassy Moscow until Ambassador Sullivan’s successor arrives,” the embassy said without providing further details.

EU Ambassador Markus Ederer has also departed Russia, according to an unnamed diplomatic source in Brussels quoted by Russia’s state-run TASS news agency Sunday.

French Ambassador to Malaysia Roland Galharague will replace Ederer as part of a “planned change” in the near future, the report said.

“The EU adheres to the need to keep open diplomatic Chanels of communication with Moscow” despite the unprecedented crisis in relations with Russia, the diplomatic source added.

Since the launch of the Russian offensive in Ukraine at the end of February, the United States have introduced sweeping economic sanctions against Moscow and provided substantial military aid to Kyiv. 

The U.S. embassy has also been on the frontline in recent weeks trying to secure the release of its citizens detained in Russia, including basketball superstar Brittney Griner who was sentenced to nine years in jail by a Moscow court in August on a drug charge.

AFP contributed reporting.

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