President Donald Trump phoned his Russian counterpart this week, according to senior government officials, after seeing a map of rampant wildfires in Siberia.
But their conversation also led to a debate about the need for a fresh US ambassador in Russia, two representatives said, as it is anticipated that the present envoy, Jon Huntsman, will leave his post shortly.
According to an embassy source, Huntsman and his spouse have been on what seems to be a goodbye trip in recent months, having meals with fellow diplomats and others as they prepare to leave the nation.
Huntsman’s spouse, Mary Kaye, published some of their latest occurrences on Instagram, including a Friday night with last month’s marine guard members of the embassy and a stroll along the Moscow river.
While Putin and Trump discussed the fact that the expected departure of Huntsman will require a new ambassador in the coming months, no names of potential replacements were discussed by the men.
According to authorities, it was a comparatively fast phone call, and the two rulers did not discuss the choice to officially withdraw from the Treaty with Russia on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces or impending sanctions on Russia for its poisoning of an ex-spy in the United Kingdom.
Mary Kaye Huntsman said in a social media post after this story was released that they would have a “coming shortly” announcement and say “goodbye to many colleagues.” She refused that there was a farewell trip.
“Before we leave, our announcement will come shortly and I’m sure we’re going to say goodbye to many buddies at that stage,” she posted on Instagram.
She also said that her job was “hard and emotionally sharp with numerous peers expelled in our relationship under unprecedented circumstances.”
Trump informed journalists on Thursday that the two “had a nice talk, a short talk, but a nice talk,” and Trump said it had been launched by Moscow, which issued a declaration on the call hours before the White House.
Neither the USA nor the Russian declaration referred to the sanctions debate, but Putin commended the firefighting offer of Trump “in order to ensure that full-fledged relationships between the two nations could be restored in the future.”
Huntsman, who has served in the post since 2017, was directly involved in the case of Paul Whelan, an American corporate security manager who was mysteriously arrested on suspicion of spying by Russian authorities.
In January, Hunstman personally visited Whelan— an atypical event for an ambassador, CNN analyst John Kirby said— when Whelan was detained in a possible movement of retribution 15 days after supposed Russian spy Maria Butina pleaded guilty to attempting to infiltrate political circles and impact U.S. relations with Russia.
In November, Huntsman disclosed that he had stage one melanoma — a diagnosis he did not share with anyone in Moscow out of worry about how to receive the data. Huntsman, a former governor of Utah and a candidate for the presidency in 2012, earlier served in 2009 as an ambassador to China.