John Sullivan, the outgoing American ambassador to Russia who served under both the Trump and Biden administrations, announced on Sunday that he will be retiring from a distinguished career in government service. His resignation comes as Russia’s war with Ukraine is in its seventh month.
During his four-decade public service career, he held high positions in the departments of Justice, Defense, and Commerce in addition to serving as deputy secretary of state.
Up until Sullivan is replaced, Elizabeth Rood, the deputy head of mission to Russia, will represent the United States as the top diplomat in Moscow.
Sullivan went to a memorial service for late Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Saturday in Moscow. Gorbachev passed away on Tuesday.
The departure occurs amid ongoing tension between the United States and Russia. The conflict has dragged on since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, with both sides exchanging combat strikes and making modest gains in the east and south. Thousands of soldiers have been killed and injured in both Russia and Ukraine, and the city-bombing by Russia has murdered countless innocent people.
The United States has sanctioned Russia in waves and given Ukraine military aid worth billions of dollars, switching in recent weeks to a longer-term support approach.
After officials in Moscow “recommended” Sullivan follow the lead of the Russian ambassador to Washington who was recalled from Washington after Vice President Joe Biden referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer,” Sullivan returned to the United States in April 2021 for discussions.
Boston-born Sullivan was appointed ambassador to Russia in December 2019 after being nominated by President Donald Trump and receiving unusually significant bipartisan support in the Senate. When Biden took office a year ago, he asked to stay in the position.