Biden selects Bridget Brink as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine


▶ Watch Video: Ukraine appeals for more support from West

Washington — President Biden plans to nominate veteran diplomat Bridget Brink to serve as the United States ambassador to Ukraine, the White House announced Monday.

Her nomination requires Senate approval, and if confirmed, Brink, the current U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, would take over as the top American diplomat in Ukraine as the nation continues to defend itself from Russia’s invasion. A career foreign service officer, Brink has had assignments in Uzbekistan, Georgia, Cyprus and Serbia, and served as the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. She also worked for the White House National Security Council.

The White House’s formal announcement of Brink as Mr. Biden’s pick for U.S. ambassador to Ukraine came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The two are the highest-ranking U.S. officials to visit Ukraine’s capital city since Russia invaded the country in late February. During the visit, Blinken told Zelenskyy of Mr. Biden’s selection of Brink as ambassador.

While the U.S. embassy in Ukraine is in Kyiv, the State Department moved embassy operations to Lviv in mid-February in response to Russia’s buildup of troops along Ukraine’s borders. Blinken told reporters after meeting with Zelenskyy that U.S. diplomats, who have largely been working in Poland since the start of the war in Ukraine, will begin returning to the country this week, after which the State Department will begin the process of looking at how to reopen the embassy in the capital.

“We’re doing it deliberately, we’re doing it carefully, we’re doing it with the security of our personnel foremost in mind, but we’re doing it,” Blinken said.

The U.S. has not had a Senate-confirmed ambassador in Ukraine since spring 2019, when Marie Yovanovitch was pushed out of the post by former President Donald Trump. Yovanovitch, who would go on to testify in the House’s impeachment proceedings against Trump later that year, said she was removed due to a smear campaign staged by “foreign corrupt interests” in Ukraine who worked alongside allies of the former president to harm her reputation.

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