Nov 19, 2014 7:29 AM

Putin receives new US ambassador in Kremlin

The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) The new U.S. ambassador to Russia presented his credentials to President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in a ceremony at the Kremlin that politely hinted at the challenges the career diplomat will face in Moscow.

With Washington and Moscow locked in their worst confrontation since the Cold War over the Ukraine crisis, Putin gave a slight smile as new Ambassador John Tefft strode toward him through a vast gilded hall.

"We are ready for practical cooperation with our American partners in all fields on the principles of respect for each other's interests, equal partnership and non-interference in our domestic affairs," Putin said a day after he accused the U.S. of trying to make Russia submissive and warned that it would never succeed.

Tefft has decades of experience in Russia and other former Soviet states. He replaces Michael McFaul, the Stanford University professor who was the architect of President Barack Obama's effort to reset relations with Russia. McFaul left in February.

The U.S. and the European Union have sanctioned Russian businesses and individuals, including some members of Putin's inner circle, after Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in March. They also have pushed Moscow to end its support for the separatists who are fighting government troops in eastern Ukraine.

Russia denies supplying arms to the separatists, but claims the right to protect ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine and is determined to prevent Ukraine from ever joining NATO.


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