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Russia questions suitability of Biden“s nominated ambassador to Moscow

2022-12-15T10:19:58Z

Russia on Wednesday questioned the suitability of the woman nominated by President Joe Biden to be the next U.S. ambassador to Moscow, suggesting Lynne Tracy might feel more at home in a hardline think-tank.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said remarks by Tracy in the media and to a U.S. Senate Committee showed that she saw tighter sanctions against Moscow as the way forward in bilateral relations. She said Tracy had also noted the need for contacts with the opposition and civil society.

“Does she definitely want to come to us? Not some hawkish research center?” Zakharova asked.

The ambassador needed to demonstrate readiness to work constructively in order to avoid “irreparable damage in relations with our country”, she said.

Russia must agree to accept Tracy, who has been ambassador to Armenia since 2019, in order for her to take up her post.

Tracy said in a statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last month that Russia’s “unjustified and unprovoked war against Ukraine” had shattered European security and that Washington was imposing unprecedented economic costs on Moscow in response.

She said she would work to keep the spotlight on jailed opposition figures such as Alexei Navalny, and to promote mutual understanding among Americans and Russians.

Since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, relations with the United States have plunged to their most confrontational point in 60 years. President Vladimir Putin said last week that trust between Russia and the West was “almost at zero”.

Biden said in October that the world was closer to a nuclear “Armageddon” than at any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.