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Putin appoints new Russian ambassador to US

•, Associated Press

The 62-year old Anatoly Antonov was appointed to the job by President Vladimir Putin's order, according to the Kremlin.

Antonov takes the job at a time when U.S.-Russia relations are badly strained following the approval of a new wave of U.S. sanctions against Moscow and the Kremlin's decision to sharply cut the U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia.

He succeeds Sergei Kislyak, who found himself in the center of controversy amid claims of Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential vote. Kislyak's contacts with members of Trump's team have been part of congressional and FBI investigations into possible collusion between Trump campaign and Russia. Russia has denied any interference in the U.S. election.

Antonov joined the Foreign Ministry in 1978 and gradually rose through the ranks to take the job of the chief of the ministry's security and disarmament department in 2004. As part of his job, he led negotiations on various international agreements, including the 2010 New START nuclear arms reduction treaty signed by the United States and Russia.

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