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Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov Named Russian Ambassador to U.S.

Anatoly Antonov Defense Ministry

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister has been named as Russia's ambassador in the United States, foreign ministry sources have told The Moscow Times.

Career diplomat Anatoly Antonov will now need to be approved by Russia's parliament, the State Duma, before formally taking the post. 

The former deputy defense minister was first chosen as a possible candidate in the autumn of 2016, when the Kremlin believed that Democrat party nominee Hilary Clinton would take the White House.

Antonov was seen as a “hardliner” on the West, who would be able to negotiate with Clinton amid strained U.S.-Russia ties, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday.

He has remained a top-choice candidate to replace Russia's current ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak, despite U.S. President Donald Trump having won the Oval Office. Kislyak also served as Deputy Foreign Minister between 2003 and 2008, when he was posted to the United States.

Antonov was born in the Siberian city of Omsk in 1955, and joined the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978. He previously worked with American officials as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' head of security and disarmament, holding high-level talks on reducing the countries' nuclear stockpiles.

He was appointed Russia's deputy defense minister by President Vladimir Putin in 2011, and promoted again to deputy foreign minister in December 2016.

The new U.S. administration is also yet to name its new ambassador to Russia. Among the potential candidates are former U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Burt, and Trump advisor Carter Page.

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