The United States has dispatched a new official to serve as temporary head of its embassy in Kyiv after the departure of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch earlier this month.

Kristina Kvien has arrived in Kyiv and will serve as chargé d’affaires ad interim, the U.S. Embassy announced on May 31.

Yovanovitch was removed from her post on May 20, before the end of her official term, after coming under attack from Ukrainian Prosecutor Genereal Yuriy Lutsenko, U.S. right-wing media, and some American politicians — including Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump. This led some U.S politicians and political observers to conclude her removal was politically motivated.

While the American critics accused Yovanovitch of harboring an anti-Trump bias, Lutsenko claimed that she had given him a list of Ukrainians the country should not prosecute. The State Department vehemently denied the prosecutor general’s claim.


Before her appointment to Ukraine, Kvien served as acting deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

Before that, she was a deputy head of the U.S. mission in Thailand and an economic counselor of the U.S. Embassy in London. She also directed the European Union, Ukraine, and Belarus affairs unit at the National Security Council in the Executive Office of the U.S. President.

Kvien also worked at the U.S. Embassy in Russia, the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and the U.S. mission in Brussels.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv’s statement, Kvien has worked at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, and is an expert on European Union issues and bilateral relations with Slovenia.

Kvien was born in California and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Occidental College and master’s in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

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