U.S. ambassador to Russia, John J. Sullivan, announces retirement

Tensions have been rising between the United States and Russia since the latter invaded neighboring Ukraine earlier this year. Moreover, a recent development might make those tensions more difficult to manage.

According to the Washington Examiner, America’s ambassador to Russia left his post in Moscow this past weekend. 

Ambassador retiring

The State Department put out a press release on Sunday which explained that “U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation John J. Sullivan has concluded his tenure as U.S. envoy and departed Moscow today.”

“Following his departure, he will retire from a career in public service that has spanned four decades and five U.S. presidents, including service as the Deputy Secretary of State and in senior positions at the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Commerce,” it continued.

“Elizabeth Rood will assume duties as Charge d’Affaires at U.S. Embassy Moscow until Ambassador Sullivan’s successor arrives,” the statement concluded.

The Examiner cited a Bloomberg report which pointed out that Sullivan “was one of a small group of Trump-appointed diplomats to be asked by the Biden administration to stay in their post.”

The paper also noted that Sullivan had advocated for a greater degree of communication between his country and Russia.

Sullivan pessimistic

However, recent comments that the ambassador made to state-controlled Russian media outlets suggest that he was not optimistic about the relationship.

During an interview in June with the Russian television network TASS, Sullivan said U.S. and Russian embassies “could very well be” shut down, something he thought “would be a big mistake.”

Still, Sullivan indicated that the U.S. embassy would only be shuttered due to security concerns, and he knew of no plans by the Biden administration to do so.

What’s more, the ambassador sounded pessimistic about the prospect of relations between the two countries returning to normal.

“Years, if not longer,” Sullivan said of the time frame. “For businesses — it’s going to take a long time. And that’s when people are in a position to want it, and right now they are leaving, so we’re not even thinking about that.”