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Putin Appoints Antonov as New U.S. Ambassador

Anatoly Antonov Russian Defence Ministry Press Office / TASS

President Vladimir Putin on Monday appointed Russia’s former Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov to be the country’s next Ambassador to the United States.

statement on the Kremlin’s website said Antonov was appointed by presidential decree, replacing Sergei Kislyak, who was drawn into the controversy over Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election after meeting with members of Donald Trump’s campaign team.

The former deputy defense minister, who is widely seen as a "hardliner" was first chosen as a possible candidate in the autumn of 2016 during the presidential campaign.

The news of Monday's appointment comes as the U.S. Embassy in Russia is temporarily suspending processing non-immigrant visa applications in response to Russia’s expulsion of American diplomats.

“Due to the Russian government-imposed cap on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, all non-immigrant visa operations across Russia will be suspended on Aug. 23,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement published Monday morning.

The move is just the latest in a series of tit-for-tat measures between Russia and the United States as part of an ongoing diplomatic spat over fresh sanctions codified by U.S. President Donald Trump on Aug. 2.

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