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Psaki said it is important to remember that there exists a whole spectrum of issues on which the US is working with Russia. This concerns not only Ukraine and US attempts to push a diplomatic solution to the crisis through.
The presence of a diplomat in the rank of ambassador in Russia is very important to the USA; the US is working with Russia on other issues as well, and this will be part of a dialogue that Mr. Tefft will conduct as Ambassador, Psaki added.
John F. Tefft supersedes Michael McFaul, who worked in this capacity for two years. The reasons given by McFaul for departure from Russia were personal and family circumstances.
Jen Psaki explained that time had come for McFaul to return home and take up other pursuits. Alexei Pushkov, head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, commented on that as follows: "Ambassadorial job is to be ambassador to the State, not to the opposition", adding that "this was the trap into which McFaul got when trying to combine these two formats".
Tefft, unlike his predecessor, is a career diplomat. He was Ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia, and Lithuania. As Tefft himself put it, he assumes the position of Ambassador to Russia at a time when Russian-US relations are in a fix, and their future is uncertain.