Putin Honors Former U.S. Envoy Under Fire for Trump Contacts

(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded former Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak the Alexander Nevsky medal, one of the country’s highest civilian honors, the Kremlin said Monday.

Kislyak was honored for his “great contribution to the implementation of the foreign-policy course of the Russian Federation,” according to a text of the decree published on the official disclosure website.

Putin Honors Former U.S. Envoy Under Fire for Trump Contacts

Kislyak’s contacts with Donald Trump’s campaign team came under the spotlight of U.S. intelligence amid the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. Kislyak blamed the accusations, which he called groundless, on the “electrified climate in the American political environment, where everyone is fighting everyone,” he said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published Sept. 7.

Kislyak, 67, served as Russia’s U.S. envoy from 2008 to 2017. He returned to Moscow in July and was succeeded in Washington by former Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov. 

Kislyak said in the Izvestia interview he plans to run for a seat in the upper house of parliament from the central Russian region of Mordovia.