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Germany confirms new envoy to Russia after ties downgrade


BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Alexander Graf Lambsdorff as its new ambassador to Russia, weeks after the two countries announced a downgrading of diplomatic ties as relations collapsed after the invasion of Ukraine.

Graf Lambsdorff, a 56-year-old diplomat and member of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the ruling coalition, will take up his post in the summer after Russia gave the green light for the move.

He replaces Géza Andreas von Geyr, who has represented Germany in Russia since September 2019 and is now set to become Germany’s ambassador to NATO in Brussels.

Germany last month said it would shut down four out of five Russian consulates by revoking their licences, a tit-for-tat move after Moscow’s decision to limit the number of German officials in Russia.

Graf Lambsdorff has sharply criticised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and backed Germany shoring up Ukraine’s armed forces with military aid. He is a descendent of a political and aristocratic family that traces its roots to Baltic Germans living in the Russian tsarist empire.

(Reporting by Alexander Ratz; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Friederike Heine)

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