Russia’s Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on his way out

The veteran Russian diplomat at the center of much of the FBI investigation into Moscow’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election and its aftermath is stepping down after nearly a decade as ambassador.

WASHINGTON — Remarkably fresh despite the tropical heat, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was doing what he does best: hobnobbing in a room full of diplomats and dignitaries.

Only the setting was unusual for the most famous — or infamous — foreign envoy assigned to Washington in decades. He was in Cancún, Mexico, last week on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization of American States, a regional body.

What in the world was Kislyak doing there?

“I am representing Russia,” Kislyak told the Los Angeles Times.

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But he won’t be doing that much longer, at least not in the United States.

The veteran Russian diplomat at the center of much of the FBI investigation into Moscow’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election and its aftermath is stepping down after nearly a decade as ambassador.

It’s unclear whether he is retiring. The Kremlin says it’s a routine rotation. But Kislyak had been widely reported to be destined for a senior post at the United Nations.

Instead, he told the Times, he thinks he will just go back to Russia.

“It’s been 17 years,” Kislyak said, referring to his current stint and an earlier, eight-year assignment to the Russian mission at the U.N. and the Russian Embassy in Washington at a more junior level. “My wife wants to go home.”

Including a posting in Brussels, his career as a diplomat spanned the turbulence of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, followed by the rise of President Vladimir Putin and growing tension with the Obama administration.

Then came the U.S. election last year.

Kislyak’s meetings with several of President Donald Trump’s top campaign aides or surrogates have come…

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