Republican Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee Vote Against Biden’s New Ambassador To Russia

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The United States Senate voted Wednesday to confirm President Joe Biden’s new Ambassador to Russia, and just two Republican senators opposed.

Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Utah’s Mike Lee were the only two members of the chamber to vote against the nomination of Lynne M. Tracy to lead the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Tracy was confirmed by a 93-2 vote on the same day Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is visiting Washington, D.C., to meet with President Joe Biden and lawmakers.

Paul tweeted it is a “mistake” to have an ambassador to Russia who supports NATO expansion to include Georgia and Ukraine, two countries Russia has invaded in the past 15 years. Sen. Lee did not respond to an inquiry from the Daily Caller on the motivation behind his vote.

Tracy is a career member of the Foreign Service with extensive experience in the region, including as the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia during the Trump administration and as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Moscow. She’s also served at the State Department as a senior advisor on Russian affairs. (RELATED: Brittney Griner Releases First Statement Since Being Traded For ‘Merchant Of Death’ Viktor Bout)

America’s previous ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, departed the post in September, leaving the U.S. without a top diplomat in Moscow for the past three months as the Kremlin has continued its aggression in Ukraine.

As for concerns about provoking Russia, such as those voiced by Paul, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov previously welcomed the nomination of Tracy to the post. “We have given the agreement. In fact, they requested the agreement for her a while ago. They announced that she was nominated for this position,” he said in September.