WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is filling a critical diplomatic post by tapping a career diplomat experienced in eastern Europe to be the next U.S. ambassador to Russia.
Obama's announcement Thursday follows a period of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Obama says he's recalling John Francis Tefft to service to fill the high-profile slot in Moscow. The post has been vacant since late February.
Tefft was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in Obama's first term. Before that, Tefft was the U.S. ambassador to Georgia during the administration of George W. Bush, in addition to multiple other postings across Europe.
In 2013, Tefft became executive director of the RAND Business Leaders Forum at the RAND Corp., a research organization.