20:54 GMT +3 hours24 November 2014
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New U.S. ambassador arrives in Russia

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(updated 19:31 24.11.2014)
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The new United States ambassador to Russia, career diplomat John Beyrle, arrived in Moscow on Thursday, the American Embassy said.
MOSCOW, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - The new United States ambassador to Russia, career diplomat John Beyrle, arrived in Moscow on Thursday, the American Embassy said.

Beyrle, 54, is former U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria and served as a diplomat in Moscow twice prior to his job in Sofia. He also worked in Prague as a political and economic advisor earlier in his career, according to the White House.

An expert on Eastern European states, the Soviet Union and Russia, Beyrle speaks fluent Russian. Media reports said he was an interpreter for former President George Bush Sr., when he visited Moscow for Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's funeral in 1982.

He is replacing ambassador William Burns, who quit in May for the post of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

A Russian expert earlier suggested that Beyrle's mission would be to "maintain relations at a certain level and in a certain form until the presidential elections."

"He is a career diplomat, not a political choice. This means that no far-reaching political goals will be set for him," said Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the Institute of North American Studies.

Russia also plans to replace its ambassador to the United States.

Yury Ushakov quit the post in early June to become deputy head of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's government staff. His successor has not been officially named so far, but Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak, overseeing ties with the U.S., is widely believed to be the main candidate.