Sergey Kislyak, the ambassador at the center of the controversy surrounding Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, is leaving Washington, the Russian embassy announced Saturday.
"Ambassador S.Kislyak has concluded his assignment in Washington, DC Minister-Counselor D.Gonchar will act as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim," the embassy announced in a statement on Twitter.
Kisylak is reportedly among the candidates for a new United Nations counter-terrorism role.
The announcement came with Kislyak the focus of new reports on contact between members of a key member of Donald Trump’s team and Russia during the 2016 election campaign.
The Washington Post, citing intelligence intercepts, reported Friday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Kisylak to discuss campaign matters during the 2016 presidential election.
Kisylak has served as ambassador since 2008, and kept a relatively low profile for most of his tenure. However he has emerged as a key figure in alleged Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Shortly after Trump took office, reports emerged that former national security Michael Flynn had held undisclosed conversations with Kislyak, about which he had misled Vice President Mike Pence. In February and facing increasing pressure over the conversations, Flynn resigned.
Shortly after, the Post reported that Sessions had met Kislyak during the campaign when he was a high profile supporter of Trump and campaign adviser. Sessions denied discussing matters relating to the campaign with Kislyak, whom he met at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and recused himself from his law enforcement responsibilities overseeing the Trump-Russia investigations.
The latest Post report, however, allege that Sessions did disuss campaign matters at the meeting with Kiylak.
Other key Trump officials have been linked with Kislyak, including the president’s son-in-law and chief adviser Jared Kushner, who failed to disclose a meting with Kislyak and the chief of a state-owned Russian bank in December.
Kislyak was also present at an Oval Office meeting with Trump and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in May, where Trump disclosed classified information about a terror threat to civilian aircraft.