Putin picks Russian deputy foreign minister as USA ambassador

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed a new ambassador to the United States.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has signed a decree appointing former Deputy Foreign Minister, Anatoly Antonov, as the country's ambassador to the United States, the Kremlin said on Monday. The announcement came while the U.S. Embassy in Russia suspended issuing non-immigrant visas to Russian citizens. He is seen as a hardliner towards the U.S.

Mr. Antonov, 62, who takes over from Sergei Kislyak, is now a Deputy Foreign Minister.

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His latest appointment comes as US-Russian relations have hit a new nadir, entangled in ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Also Monday, the U.S. Mission in Russian Federation said it will suspend visa operations in the Eastern European country - the latest move in a diplomatic row between the two nations. From 2011 until late a year ago, the former Soviet military leader was deputy defense minister. In Russia's convoluted civilian rank system, he was the third-ranking diplomat behind Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kislyak.

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