Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who spent a decade as the country’s Washington-based ambassador and has found himself at the heart of the Trump-Russia narrative, has been recalled by the Kremlin amid rumors that he was to be appointed to a senior position at the United Nations.
66-year-old Kislyak’s exit coincides with the ongoing investigations by the FBI and Congress into President Donald Trump’s alleged campaign ties with Russia, including a possible nefarious relationship between Kislyak and several of Trump’s top aides.
While Kislyak’s departure did not come as a surprise, it comes at a time when politicians endeavor to distance themselves from his orbit in an effort to avoid getting painted with the “Russian collusion” brush.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, all met with Kislyak at various points but failed to disclose those sit downs, sparking controversy. Even Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed that she never met Kislyak until she was forced to recant her tale when a photo of her meeting Kislyak with other lawmakers surfaced.
Kislyak also ignited speculation when he called in a request to the Kremlin to open a secret channel of communication at Kushner’s behest. When asked by BuzzFeed about the request, Kislyak suggested there was no wrongdoing.
“We have a policy,” he explained. “We do not comment on our daily contacts in America or anywhere else because we need to respect our interlocutors.”
Prior to his career as a diplomat, Kislyak worked as a nuclear physicist. He was reportedly on a short list to head a new UN counterterrorism office based in New York, but that position has since been offered to Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov.