(CN) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved Jon Huntsman to be the next ambassador to Russia, just two days after his nomination cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Huntsman served as governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009, and as United States ambassador to Singapore from 1992 to 1993, and China from 2009 to 2011.
He heads overseas at a time when the relationship between the U.S. and Russia has been strained by multiple investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expelled more than 700 diplomats earlier this year after Congress easily passed legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia and block Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift existing sanctions.
Huntsman told the foreign relations panel last week that he is aware of the “profound responsibilities” that come with the job.
“Our relationship with Russia is among the most consequential and complex foreign policy challenges we face,” he said. “As a nuclear superpower and permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, we have no choice but to deal with Russia on a range of issues touching on global stability and security.”