US Senate confirms John Tefft as new Russia envoy

  • AFP, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 01, 2014 15:08 IST

The US Senate approved President Barack Obama's nominee for ambassador to Moscow on Thursday, a quick confirmation amid a long backlog of would-be envoys awaiting a vote.

John Tefft, a career diplomat specialising in Eastern Europe, fills a post that has been vacant during a period of high tension between the Kremlin and Washington.

The approval comes only weeks after his nomination, amid the most challenging period in US-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War, with the rivals at odds over what Washington sees as Moscow's interference in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea.

A former US ambassador to Ukraine and Georgia, Tefft has served as deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs and served as chief of mission in the US embassy in Moscow in the 1990s.

Tefft, who was confirmed by a Senate voice vote, fills a post vacated by Michael McFaul, who resigned in February.

The White House is increasingly frustrated that many of Obama's ambassadorial picks are in limbo on Capitol Hill, casualties of an era of dysfunction and gridlock in Washington.

Some ambassadorial picks and nominees for State Department posts have waited months for confirmation votes.

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