President Biden is close to publicly naming his ambassador to Ukraine, but his administration is still waiting on formal approval from the Ukrainian government, CNN has learned.
Biden has selected Bridget Brink, the current US ambassador to Slovakia, but hasn’t officially nominated her yet because the Ukrainian government hasn’t signed off, according to a source familiar.
Getting approval from the foreign government is part of the standard process in selecting ambassadors and can usually take anywhere from days to weeks. A source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN on Monday that the Ukrainian government is still vetting Brink.
Secretary Antony Blinken said recently the US ambassador to Ukraine would be announced “very shortly,” adding, “I can tell you that when an ambassador is nominated, that person will have the full confidence of the President of the United States, that person will be someone that is well known to me and with whom I have a close relationship, and that person will have very demonstrable expertise and knowledge in this region.”
More background: Currently the chargé d’affaires, Kristina Kvien, remains at the embassy in Ukraine. The US has not had a permanent ambassador in the country since Marie Yovanovitch, who was pushed out of the position after she said she was effectively “kneecapped” by Trump administration.
The State Department last week ordered that families of diplomats at the US Embassy in Kyiv leave the country amid heightened tensions with Russia, and allowed non-essential staff to depart voluntarily. The vast majority of staffers have chosen to stay, however, sources told CNN last week.