UNITED NATIONS — U.S. relations with Russia have become only more complicated with the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to look into Moscow’s alleged ties with the Trump administration — allegations focused, in part, around meetings held with Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Now it appears that Vladimir Putin is setting his sights on the United Nations. Diplomats and counterterrorism experts say Russia is reshuffling its diplomats, making new appointments and proposing to move Kislyak or another top Russian official to U.N. headquarters in New York, and one of those officials is expected to run a new U.N. counterterrorism office.
Before that happens — if it does — the Russians will have other vacancies to fill as a priority. For starters, there has been no Russian Ambassador at the U.N. since the sudden death in February of Vitaly Churkin.
On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov nominated Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya to the position. Confirmation of the nomination by Russian lawmakers is still pending, but Nebenzya has served in New York previously and headed the foreign ministry’s human rights division.
Also, to relieve the Moscow is reportedly preparing another Deputy Foreign Minister, Anatoly Antonov, to head to the U.S. capital.in Washington,
The real intrigue, however, is around the U.N.’s soon-to-be unveiled office of counterterrorism, a flagship program of the .
“In short, I have asked the entire U.N. system to ‘act as one U.N.’ on what I consider one of the greatest challenges of our time,” Guterres said about his initiative in a message delivered in Moscow last year. The timing of the inception of the U.N.’s first new office in decades — and the appointment of its leader — could not be more delicate.
Jeffrey Feltman, U.N. Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs and a former U.S. foreign service officer, tells CBS News…