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US Ambassador to Russia to Step Down

U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul walks outside as he leaves the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow, May 15, 2013.
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says that he will soon step down.

He announced in a blog post Tuesday that he will leave his post after the Sochi Winter Olympics.

“After more than five years working for the Obama administration, it is time to go home,” McFaul, 50, said in a lengthy entry on his blog. “I will leave Russia reluctantly. I love this job.”

McFaul cited family reasons, saying his wife and sons had moved back to California last summer and that he would be based at Stanford University, where he taught before Obama brought him to Washington in 2009.

McFaul, who was named ambassador to Russia in December 2011, is regarded as chief architect of the "reset" policy -- the warming of Washington's relations with Moscow that followed Vladimir Putin's departure from the Kremlin in 2008.

Putin was elected to a third presidential term in 2012, and his return to the Kremlin saw renewed U.S.-Russian frictions. McFaul was the target of criticism by Russian legislators and state media.

The White House said in a statement Tuesday that President Barack Obama is "deeply grateful for Ambassador McFaul's extraordinary service," saying he "helped shape policies that advanced America's interests" and has been "tirelesss in advocating for the universal values that America stands for around the world."

Some information for this report provided by Reuters