Biden's Ukraine ambassador pick Bridget Brink expected to win Senate approval

US Senate sees smooth sailing for new ambassador in position that was vacant for three years

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee scheduled Ms Brink's confirmation hearing for Tuesday — two weeks after Joe Biden sent her nomination to the Senate. Bloomberg

US President Joe Biden's nominee to be the next ambassador to Ukraine, veteran diplomat Bridget Brink, is expected to easily win confirmation to a crucial position that has been vacant for nearly three years, Senate aides have said.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee scheduled Ms Brink's confirmation hearing for Tuesday — two weeks after Mr Biden sent her nomination to the Senate.

A Michigan native who speaks Russian, Ms Brink currently serves as US ambassador to Slovakia.

She has been a career diplomat for 25 years and has worked in Uzbekistan and Georgia as well as in several senior positions across the State Department and White House National Security Council.

Bridget Brink has more than two decades of experience in the foreign service. AP

Both Mr Biden's fellow Democrats and Republicans said they did not foresee her having problems winning confirmation, pointing to the unusually short time between the announcement of her nomination and her confirmation hearing, which would have required bipartisan approval.

Ms Brink was confirmed by unanimous voice vote in 2019, when former Republican president Donald Trump nominated her for her current position in Bratislava.

Many nominees for ambassadorships have waited months to be confirmed by the Senate in recent years, reflecting Washington's deep partisan divisions.

The post in Kyiv has been vacant since Mr Trump recalled then-US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in May 2019.

Ms Yovanovitch later gave evidence in hearings as Mr Trump faced impeachment on charges of withholding military aid to put pressure on Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy to investigate Mr Biden, seen as Mr Trump's most likely opponent in the 2020 election.

Mr Biden and Congress have been ramping up support for Mr Zelenskyy's government since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

Congressional leaders on Monday agreed to rush about $40 billion in additional aid — much of it military assistance — to Kyiv.

Aides said they did not expect that members of either party would want to deprive Mr Zelenskyy of an ambassador in the midst of the war.

Updated: May 10, 2022, 5:51 PM