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Putin Honors Former Russian Ambassador Kislyak

Former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak (file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has awarded former Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak a top state honor in recognition of his "substantial contribution to the realization of Russia's foreign policy."

A statement issued by the Kremlin on September 11 said that Kislyak was granted the Order of Aleksandr Nevsky, which is given to civil servants after at least 20 years of exemplary service.

Kislyak, 67, served as ambassador to the United States from 2008 to July of this year, when he left the United States amid concerns about his contacts with representatives of President Donald Trump during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign

Before that, he was deputy foreign minister from 2003 to 2008. He previously served as Russian ambassador to Belgium and the head of Russia's mission to NATO.

Last month, Kislyak said he would be nominated as a candidate to represent the Republic of Mordovia in the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia's legislature.

Russia's new ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, presented his credentials to Trump on September 8, saying that he hoped for an "improvement in relations…between our countries."

With reporting by TASS and Bloomberg