WASHINGTON, July 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated a career diplomat with a good knowledge of European and Eurasian affairs as his new ambassador to Russia, as bilateral relationship has slipped to a new low.
John Francis Tefft and a list of others were named by the president for a number of key posts. "I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
Tefft, born in 1949, joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1972. He has served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania as well as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, the White House said.
He was deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs from 2004 to 2005, and an international affairs advisor at the National War College from 2003 to 2004. He has been serving since 2013 as executive director of the RAND Business Leaders Forum at the RAND Corporation think tank.
Tefft, whose nomination must be confirmed by the Senate, will succeed Michael McFaul, who resigned in February.
Washington-Moscow ties have soured over disagreements mainly over Syria, human rights and NATO's missile defense system, as well as over Russia's granting of asylum to Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, and lately over the crisis in Ukraine.
Snowden faces three felony charges in the United States after he unveiled the country's highly classified intelligence project codenamed PRISM.