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U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, Resigns

By: Brian Zhou

· Global Affairs

On Tuesday, Jon Huntsman, US Ambassador to Russia officially submitted his letter of resignation. The State Department announced his departure on Wednesday, and noted that his term will end in the beginning of October. In his letter to the President, Huntsman cited a desire to return to his home state and spend more time with his growing family as the driving force behind his decision. Reports indicate that Trump and Putin did discuss a need for a new US ambassador in a phone call last week, though this has not been confirmed to be a factor.

Huntsman boasts a long career as a diplomatic official, serving previously as the US Ambassador to Singapore and, later, the US Ambassador to China. He began his current position in 2017 and stated he would serve for two years. No successor or replacement has yet been named.
Huntsman’s resignation comes at a time when tensions between the two world superpowers are at their highest since the Cold War. The US recently pulled out of the historic Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty and then deployed launchers in Europe, sparking international fears of a new arms race. At the same time, the Trump administration imposed a new list of sanctions on Russia, a further escalation in economic pressure. Huntsman’s letter also called for officials to focus on common interests but simultaneously ensure that Russia is held accountable. He writes, “While times are tough, it is critical that we increase exchanges of people and maintain channels for dialogue on issues of national interest—combatting terrorism, ensuring verifiable arms control, insisting that Russia respect the sovereignty of its neighbors, and advocating for a more responsive system of goverance that includes rule of law and respect for human rights.”

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