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High-ranking US diplomat Victoria Nuland, known for anti-Russia views, will retire soon

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, known for her ardent support for Ukraine and hawkish anti-Russia views, will retire in the coming weeks.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the news on Tuesday and lauded Nuland for putting “diplomacy back at the center of our foreign policy and revitalize America’s global leadership at a crucial time for our nation and the world.”

“What makes Toria truly exceptional is the fierce passion she brings to fighting for what she believes in most: freedom, democracy, human rights, and America’s enduring capacity to inspire and promote those values around the world,” Blinken said in a statement.

Nuland served in the State Department for more than 30 years, serving under six presidents and 10 secretaries of state in various posts. In her early career, Nuland worked with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and helped open the first American embassy in Mongolia.

She also worked in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and was a diplomat in Guangzhou, China; served as a national security advisor to the vice president from 2003 to 2005 and later as a NATO ambassador; and was assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs before she became under secretary for political affairs in 2021 under President Biden.

Nuland is perhaps most well known for a 2014 incident, when she attracted global media attention after a leaked transcript caught her saying “F— the EU” during a call with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Nuland’s strong views on Russia and backing for Ukraine defined her later career, during which she played a central role in the conflict when Moscow illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula following the ouster of a pro-Russian president in Kyiv.

Nuland was a target by some on the right in the U.S. for her hawkish Russia views. Her comments also attracted harsh rebukes in Russia, including last year when the Kremlin denounced her comments for a demilitarized Crimea.

Still, Blinken said he and Biden were grateful for Nuland. He said she “always stands up for and invests in America’s diplomats — mentoring them, lifting them up, and ensuring they and their families have what they deserve, and what our mission demands.”

“She finds light in the darkest moments, makes you laugh when you need it most, and always has your back,” Blinken said Tuesday. “Her efforts have been indispensable to confronting [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, marshaling a global coalition to ensure his strategic failure, and helping Ukraine work toward the day when it will be able to stand strongly on its own feet.”

Updated at 12:04 p.m.

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