WASHINGTON -- Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s controversial ambassador to Washington, on July 22 departed from the United States as he ended his nine-year term as Moscow’s chief diplomat to its main global rival.
The Russian Embassy said his departure was part of a scheduled reassignment for the 66-year-old ambassador.
Russia's Interfax news agency quoted a source as saying Kislyak’s next move could be to become a member of Russia’s upper house, the Federation Council.
Kislyak, who held the post since 2008, is expected to be replaced by Anatoliy Antonov, a deputy foreign minister. Antonov's nomination for the post has yet to be approved by the Kremlin.
The Russian Foreign Ministry website says Antonov, born in 1955, holds a doctorate in political science and speaks English and Burmese.
The Russian Embassy in Washington said on its Twitter feed that Denis Gonchar, listed as the minister-counselor and deputy chief of mission, would serve as charge d’affaires until a successor arrived.
Kislyak has become embroiled in allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
His many meetings with the campaign and transition team of President Donald Trump is the subject of several congressional, Justice Department, and FBI investigations.
On July 21, The Washington Post reported Kislyak was overheard by U.S. spy agencies telling his bosses he had discussed campaign-related matters, including issues important to Moscow, with the current attorney general, Jeff Sessions, during the presidential race.
Sessions has denied discussing campaign issues with Russian officials and has said he only met Kislyak in his role as a U.S. senator.
Kislyak served as Moscow’s ambassador to NATO and Belgium and was a deputy foreign minister from 2003-08.
The White House said this week Trump would nominate Jon Huntsman, a former China envoy, as his new ambassador to Russia.