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US Confirms Ambassador to Moscow at Crucial Time

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman testifies during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination to become the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Sept. 19, 2017 in Washington. The U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Jon Huntsman as the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, filling a void at a critical tie in U.S.-Russian relations.

Huntsman is a former governor of the U.S. state of Utah who previously served as ambassador to Singapore and China.

The confirmation was unanimous and swift, with Democrats and Republicans joining in a rare consensus to support President Donald Trump’s choice for the top U.S. diplomat in Moscow. The Washington Post quoted Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin as saying Trump could not have made a better choice than Huntsman.

The new U.S. ambassador will arrive in Moscow as tensions remain high between the U.S. and Russia on issues that include allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections and interference in eastern Ukraine.

Trump has rejected allegations by political opponents that his campaign colluded with the Russians.

Huntsman testified this month before the Senate Foreign Relations committee and said there is, in his words, “no question” that Moscow interfered in last year’s presidential election.