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Alex Brandon, AP Photo, File

Ambassador Huntsman already in Moscow, meets with President Putin Tuesday

By Lisa Riley Roche, KSL  |  Posted Oct 2nd, 2017 @ 5:17pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — The new U.S. ambassador to Russia, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., is already in Moscow and will present his diplomatic credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Huntsman was confirmed to the key post in President Donald Trump's administration by the U.S. Senate last Thursday and was sworn in a day later. Sunday evening, the American Embassy in Moscow tweeted a photo of Huntsman and his wife, Mary Kaye.

"Welcome to Russia Amb and Mrs. Huntsman," the embassy's spokeswoman, Maria Olson, tweeted. Both the embassy and the Russian news agency, TASS, posted stories about the ambassador's arrival and meeting with Putin.

The Russian news agency described the meeting as a ceremony that will be held in the Kremlin, symbolizing the start of a diplomat's work in Russia. Putin is expected to welcome Huntsman and possibly other ambassadors, and give a short speech.

On Saturday, Huntsman could be back in Utah. A ceremonial swearing-in event is tentatively planned for him at the Utah Capitol.

Huntsman stepped down at the start of his second term as governor in 2009 to become U.S. ambassador to China under former President Barack Obama. He previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore under former President George H.W. Bush.

Huntsman's latest diplomatic assignment comes amid multiple investigations, including by a special counsel into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties to the Trump campaign.

Huntsman's predecessor in Moscow, John Tefft, wrote in an op-ed for the Moscow Times posted on the day of his departure last week that the relationship between the U.S. and Russia has "reached another low point."

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