Two top U.S. Democratic lawmakers have suggested that the early departure of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine may have been a politically motivated move on the part of President Donald Trump's administration.
In a statement released on May 7, Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, and Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, questioned why Marie Yovanovitch was leaving by the end of May, more than two months before her scheduled departure.
A career diplomat who has served during both Republican and Democratic administrations, Yovanovitch has recently been the subject of unusual public attacks by Ukraine's prosecutor-general.
Some of those attacks have been amplified by conservative U.S. media outlets.
A State Department spokesperson on May 7 confirmed earlier reporting by RFE/RL that Yovanovitch was leaving early, but declined to comment further
"Ambassador Yovanovitch is concluding her three-year diplomatic assignment in Kyiv in 2019 as planned," the official said.
Her departure comes ahead of the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Ukraine's new president. He defeated incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in the April 21 runoff vote.