Russia: 'You want hardball? Here's some hardball'
Vladimir Putin has officially recalled Sergey Kislyak as Russia's Ambassador to the US and appointed one Anatoly Antonov as his replacement:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Anatoly Antonov Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
"Under a presidential decree Anatoly Anotnov has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the United States of America and permanent observer of the Russian Federation at the Organization of American States in Washington, the United States of America," the announcement published on the Kremlin’s website runs.
According to another presidential decree, Antonov has been relieved from his duties as deputy foreign minister.
The Russian leader also signed a decree relieving Sergei Kislyak from his duties as Russian Ambassador to the United States and Russia’s Permanent Observer to the Organization of American States in Washington.
Who is Anatoly Antonov? He is Russia's former long-serving Deputy Minister of Defense and a reputed hardliner on US relations.
He spent almost six years as the deputy to two Russian defense ministers (Serdyukov and Shoigu) and was only moved back to the Foreign Ministry in December 2016. He is a trained diplomat but even in his previous diplomatic service he was handling distinctly military-themed issues as head of Foreign Ministry’s Security and Disarmament Department from 2004 to 2011.
Antonov was deputy defense minister during the height of the Ukraine and Crimea crisis in 2014 and since 2015 can find his name on an EU sanctions list.
So there you go. Until today Russia's Ambasador to the US until today was Sergey Kislyak, an amicable man whose friendly disposition was matched only by the size of his belly. Yet the US press made the man who was Yeltsin's pick to head Russia's mission to NATO in 1998 was made by the US press into a dark spymaster pulling the strings behind the White House. — Seeing its friendliness repaid with scorn Russia is sending an entirely different type of man, giving the US an opportunity to meet an actual Russian hardliner rather than having to invent one.