Russia Recalling Its Controversial Ambassador to US, ‘Radioactive’ Sergey Kislyak – Report

US President Donald Trump and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak are seen grinning widely during Trump’s much criticized meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (not pictured) in the White House on March 10, 2017. Photo: Russian Embassy in Washington

  • Russia has decided to recall its Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, according to a report.
  • Kislyak has served in Washington for over 9 years.
  • He was expected to get a UN job in New York City but Moscow has decided to bring him home amid the ongoing investigations of its meddling in American politics.
  • Kislyak has been a central figure in the alleged affair with contacts between Russia’s leadership and members of the Trump campaign team.
  • Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn have all head undisclosed communication with Kislyak.
  • Kislyak is expected to be replaced by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov.

Russia’s government has decided to recall its controversial Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, amid continuing US investigations into Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 US investigations and the possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign team, according to a report.

Russia’s Ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak, has been a central figure in the alleged affair with the Trump staff’s connections with Moscow.

It was undisclosed telephone conversations with Kislyak that led to the firing of Michael Flynn as Trump’s National Security Adviser less than a month after his appointment to the high-profile post.

Sergey Kislyak has been the Russian Ambassador in Washington for nearly a decade, since 2008.

Reports that Moscow might soon be sending a new Ambassador to the United States emerged in Russian media in early May, after Trump’s meeting with Sergey Kislyak and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which was especially eyebrow-raising: it was closed to the American press but not to the Russian state press, and during the meeting Trump revealed to the Russian side classified information, as he himself has confirmed.

After the meeting, Russian President Putin mocked the United States declaring that it was “developing political schizophrenia”.

The reports fueled speculations that Kislyak’s potential substitution for a new diplomatic face for Moscow in D.C. could be part of a tit-for-tat deal between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, with Trump making the first step with the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

According to the reports back then, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov was to replace Kislyak in Washington. Antonov is on the EU’s sanction list over Russia’s encroachments against Ukraine.

In January 2017, the US intelligence community voiced its conclusions that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hackers to use cybercrime in order to sway the 2016 US vote in favor of Donald Trump, to the detriment of his rival Hillary Clinton.

Also in January, a leaked dossier authored by a former MI6 agent alleged that Moscow had compromising materials on Trump that could be used to blackmail him.

There have been reports that Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and persons with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race.

A handout photo made available by the Russian Foreign Ministry shows US President Donald J. Trump (C) speaking with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak during their meeting in the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 10 May 2017. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry handout/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

‘Most Radioactive Man in Washington’

Russia has decided to recall its Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, three individuals familiar with the decision told BuzzFeed News.

The decision is said to be to bring 66-year-old Kislyak, a former nuclear physicist, back to Russia rather than appoint him to a senior position at the United Nations in New York.

Kislyak was reportedly under consideration to lead a new UN counterterrorism office based in New York. However, that position has since been offered to veteran Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov, a UN official announced last week.

Though Kislyak’s departure has long been expected, Moscow would not confirm his departure date. The US–Russia Business Council, however, is hosting a going away party for the ambassador on July 11 at the St. Regis Hotel.

“He could use some time away,” US-based diplomat is quoted as saying.

“[Kislyak], who has worked in the US for 9 years, will go down in the history of bilateral relations as a man who made everything possible for their development, even in the most difficult moments,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday.

Kislyak’s meetings with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn have become a central source of intrigue in the broader Russia probe, BuzzFeed notes, reminding that all three men failed to report their meetings or conversations with the Russian ambassador at various times.

At one point, the intrigue spread beyond the Trump camp — in late April, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed she’d never met Kislyak shortly before photos surfaced of her meeting with him alongside other lawmakers in 2010.

As a result, Kislyak has been labeled everything from “spymaster,” to “typhoid Mary,” to “the most radioactive man in Washington.”

The Washington Post reported recently that after a 20-minute meeting between Kislyak, Kushner, and Flynn in December US spies intercepted communication of Kislyak mentioning a request from Kushner to open a secret channel to the Kremlin that would avoid US monitoring.

The ambassador was reportedly “taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate.” The White House denied the story.

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