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Huntsman, New U.S. Ambassador, Arrives In Russia Amid 'Low Point' In Relations


Jon Huntsman, the new U.S. ambassador to Russia (file photo)

Jon Huntsman, the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, has arrived in Moscow.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Maria Olsen welcomed Huntsman and his wife, Mary Kaye Huntsman, in a tweet.

Huntsman will present his credentials to President Vladimir Putin at a ceremony on October 3, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said.

Huntsman, 57, served as ambassador to China in 2009-2011 and as ambassador to Singapore in 1992-93. He was governor of the U.S. state of Utah from 2005-09.

President Donald Trump's appointment of Huntsman was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate on September 28.

Huntsman takes over as the U.S. envoy to Moscow at a time of severe tension between Russia and the United States. Ties are badly strained over issues including Russia's aggression in Ukraine, its actions in Syria, and what the U.S. intelligence community says was a concerted attempt to meddle in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

At a confirmation hearing before a Senate panel on September 19, Huntsman said that there is "no question -- underline, no question -- that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year. And Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies."

In an article in The Moscow Times on September 28, his predecessor, John Tefft, wrote that the U.S.-Russian relationship has "reached another low point."

Tefft wrote that "the American people want the two most powerful nuclear nations in the world to have a better relationship" but that "Americans are concerned and angry about Russian interference in our elections and by the Russian authorities’ refusal to accept their responsibility for it."

With reporting by TASS
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