Russia appointed a new ambassador to the United States. The former Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, was at the center of the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election. Kislyak and the Russian government denies any involvement in efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. Kislyak was in contact with multiple members of the Trump team, causing significant controversy for the President and his allies. Kislyak returned to Russia and was replaced by Anatoly Antonov.
Anatoly Antonov was born in 1955. He served as the deputy defense minister in Russia from 2011-2016 which is the same period as the Russian annexation of Crimea in the Ukraine. The European Union has listed Antonov as expressly subject to sanctions for his part in the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.
Antonov comes to the United States after a career of service as a diplomat. In addition to his position as deputy defense minister, Antonov has also been a deputy foreign minister. It is unknown what, if any, involvement Antonov will have with the several investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It can be expected that he will tow the party line and deny Russian involvement.
Anatoly Antonov Meets the President
On Friday, the new ambassador told reporters about his meeting with the President of the United States. He said, “I was received by President Trump, I presented my credentials. For my part I said that we are looking forward to an improvement in the relations between our two countries.”
Russia’s news agency reported that Antonov described his meeting with Trump saying, “President Trump received me in a warm and friendly way … The atmosphere was very genial, constructive and welcoming. At least, that was my personal feeling.”
He continued saying, “We, together with his colleagues, his staff, agreed to continue our cooperation. I said that I look forward to working with the U.S government in the area of Russian-American mutual interests. And I said that, as far as Russia is concerned, we are ready to do that, we’re ready to take concrete steps.”