Biden Picks Ukraine Envoy

President nominates Bridget Brink to vacant post
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 25, 2022 6:39 PM CDT
Ambassador to Ukraine Named
President Biden arrives at the White House in Washington on Monday after spending the weekend in Wilmington, Del.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – Bridget Brink, a veteran foreign service officer who has spent most of her career in the shadow of the former Soviet Union, has been nominated by President Biden to serve as the US ambassador to Ukraine as the country fends off a Russian invasion that's entered its third month. The nomination comes as US officials say American diplomats will soon return to Kyiv, which they evacuated when the war began, the AP reports. Ukrainian forces have since successfully defended the city, and most of the fighting has shifted toward the eastern part of the country.

Daniel Fried, a former US ambassador to Poland who has known Brink for years, described her as "not reckless, but fearless," and expects she'll be eager to get to Kyiv. "And if you tell her it's dangerous, she’ll be like, 'Yeah, so?'" he said. Brink is currently the ambassador to Slovakia. She's married to a foreign service officer, Nicholas Higgins, who has worked around the world. Biden's selection comes after a lengthy delay. Although the president has moved to fill other diplomatic posts around the world, he waited more than a year after taking office before settling on Brink, then nearly three more months for Monday's announcement.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Brink's nomination is "terrific news at a critical moment." He added that the Senate will prioritize confirmation. Although Brink earned praise from some Republicans, others questioned why it took so long to name her. A spokeswoman for Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said he's been calling on the president to nominate someone for months. The last Senate-approved ambassador to Ukraine was Marie Yovanovitch, who was pushed out by then-President Trump in 2019.

(Read more US ambassador stories.)

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