Biden to nominate veteran diplomat as US ambassador to Russia, reports say

Lynne Tracy would assume post in Moscow at a time of high tension between the White House and Kremlin

Lynne Tracy, who has served as ambassador to Armenia since 2019, would be the first woman to hold the post in Russia. AP
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President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Lynne Tracy, a veteran diplomat who is currently working in Armenia, as the next US ambassador to Russia, media outlets reported on Wednesday.

Ms Tracy, who has served as ambassador to Armenia since 2019, would be the first woman to hold the post.

She would replace John Sullivan, whose planned departure was accelerated due to the failing health of his wife. Elizabeth Rood is currently serving as chargé d'affaires until Mr Sullivan's successor takes up the post.

The ambassador post comes amid soaring tension between Washington and Moscow over Russia's war in Ukraine. The issue of detained Americans is also likely to be a central issue for Ms Tracy, should she be approved to the post.

Mr Sullivan played a major role in securing the release of former marine Trevor Reed in May, and Ms Rood was often visible during court appearances for basketball star Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison on a drug possession conviction last month.

The nomination will be submitted to the US Senate after the Russian government signs off on the choice, the Associated Press reported, citing administration officials. Under diplomatic protocol, ambassadorial nominations must be approved by the host government.

Officials told AP that Moscow was made aware of the Biden administration's pick weeks ago but has yet to give its formal approval.

Ms Tracy, who speaks Russian, previously served as senior adviser for Russian affairs at the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. She also worked at the US embassy in Moscow from 2014-2017 as the deputy chief of mission.

She was awarded a distinguished honour award from the State Department for her previous service in Moscow.

Mr Biden's planned selection of Ms Tracey as US ambassador to Russia was first reported by CNN.

Updated: September 14, 2022, 6:53 PM