Biden to nominate Bridget Brink as US ambassador to Ukraine

President Biden on Monday announced plans to nominate Bridget Brink, the current U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.  

The announcement follows months of questions about whom Biden would nominate to the role, particularly in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February. Brink is a career foreign service officer who has spent much of her career focused on Europe and Eurasia.  

Biden announced his nominee for the ambassador post after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Ukraine to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as Ukrainian forces resist a renewed Russian onslaught in the eastern part of the country.  

Blinken told reporters that Biden would tap Brink for the post shortly before the White House released the official announcement. Blinken described Brink as “someone I’ve served with for a long time, deeply experienced in the region, who’ll be a very strong representative for the United States in Ukraine.” 

The secretary of State also said that U.S. diplomats would be returning to Ukraine beginning next week. The U.S. closed its embassy in Kyiv in mid-February and moved remaining diplomats to the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine near the border with Poland. Diplomats were later evacuated from Ukraine entirely.

Blinken said that the U.S. would look at opening the embassy in Kyiv over the next “couple of weeks.”

“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,” he said.

The U.S. has been without a confirmed ambassador to Ukraine for more than two years. The last official confirmed to the role was Marie Yovanovitch, who was forced out by former President Trump. That move contributed to Trump’s first impeachment.  

Kristina Kvien is the charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and has been fulfilling the duties of ambassador in an acting capacity.  

Brink, who will need to be confirmed by the Senate, was nominated to her current post in Slovakia in 2019 by Trump and confirmed by a voice vote.  

Brink received bipartisan applause following the White House announcement that Biden would nominate her for the post in Ukraine.  

“The administration made important progress today in safeguarding our national security and strengthening our diplomatic corps by nominating Bridget Brink to serve as Ambassador to Ukraine,” Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.) said in a statement.  

“Particularly as Russian forces bear down in communities across Ukraine with horrifying violence, having an Ambassador placed is essential to coordinate key military and humanitarian assistance and help our partners defend themselves.” 

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) tweeted that Brink is “an effective diplomat & an excellent choice to lead the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.” 

There were reports earlier this year that Biden was likely to select Brink for the post but was waiting for the Ukrainian government to sign off on her nomination. 

Updated at 12:01 p.m.

Tags Antony Blinken Joe Biden Lloyd Austin Marie Yovanovitch Volodymyr Zelensky

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