Top Anti-Russia Official Resigning

The State Department announced on March 5 that Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland will be retiring this month, the Associated Press reported.

Nuland, a career foreign service official and the third-highest-ranking diplomat in the State Department was a frequent target of criticism over her opposition to Russia.

She briefly retired from foreign service when Donald Trump was elected but returned to serve in the Biden State Department. Nuland was considered as the replacement for former Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman who retired last summer but lost out to Kurt Campbell.

Nuland initially served in the US Embassy in Moscow in the 1990s before becoming the US Ambassador to NATO. She later served as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department spokeswoman during Barack Obama’s first term in office. She was later appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Europe under Clinton’s successor John Kerry, where Nuland’s outspoken defense of Ukraine during Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 drew the ire of Kremlin officials.

In a March 5 statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken lauded Nuland’s more than 30 years of public service, particularly her leadership on Ukraine which he said students of the foreign service would “study for years to come.”

Blinken said Nuland’s efforts on behalf of Ukraine were “indispensable,” praising her efforts to marshal “a global coalition” to ensure Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “strategic failure.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters that the reason Nuland was leaving was due to the failure of the Biden Administration’s anti-Russian policies. Zakharova summed up Nuland’s foreign policy approach as “Russiaphobia” which she said dragged the Democrat administration “to the bottom like a stone.”

Nuland’s temporary replacement will be former US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass, the man who oversaw President Biden’s bungled withdrawal from the country. US officials told the Associated Press that US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith is expected to be Nuland’s permanent replacement.