President Joe Biden announced on Monday that he will nominate Bridget Brink to serve as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, a position that has remained vacant for the past three years.
Brink currently serves as the U.S. ambassador to Slovakia. The 25-year veteran diplomat was previously a senior adviser and deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, focusing on Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
The nomination, which will still need to go through the Senate confirmation process, is a signal from the U.S. to Ukraine that it recognizes the nation’s sovereignty and seeks to maintain a diplomatic relationship. In a secret visit to Kyiv on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of the nomination, as well as the news that the U.S. will reopen its embassy in Kyiv.
Brink would be the first official U.S. ambassador to Ukraine since 2019 when former President Donald Trump recalled Marie Yovanovitch, also a career diplomat who gained widespread attention for testifying in Trump’s first impeachment trial — where the then-president was accused of withholding military aid to Ukraine for his own political purposes. Since Yovanovitch’s ousting, Kristina Kvien had temporarily served in place of an ambassador.
“The administration made important progress today in safeguarding our national security and strengthening our diplomatic corps by nominating Bridget Brink to serve as Ambassador to Ukraine. Particularly as Russian forces bear down in communities across Ukraine with horrifying violence, having an Ambassador placed is essential to coordinate key military and humanitarian assistance and help our partners defend themselves,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said in a statement.
Shaheen chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, and is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She’s also a member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, and last week led a bipartisan congressional delegation to the Balkans to show continued U.S. support for its Eastern European allies.
“Brink will play a critical role in this pivotal moment to hold Russia accountable and empower Ukraine to defend itself as we coordinate a united response with our European allies. I look forward to her nomination being swiftly considered and confirmed by this Senate.”