Sergey Kislyak, Putin's Top Diplomat in US, Returning to Russian Federation

Congressional committees and Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation in an effort to defeat rival candidate Hillary Clinton.

Another official - Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor - resigned after reports he had "misled" Vice President Mike Pence over his meetings with Kislyak.

Meetings between Kislyak and then-Senator Jeff Sessions - now Trump's Attorney General - during the 2016 campaign have caused further heat for the Trump administration, despite Sessions' claims that the meetings were part of his Senate duties and had nothing to do with the campaign. He didn't resign, but he did recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

Senior adviser Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Trump, also met with Kislyak previous year and did not disclose it to congressional and federal officials. Last week, Newsweek described Kislyak as "the most radioactive man in Washington".

Kislyak, 66, has been on assignment in the USA for nine years and the Russian Foreign Ministry says his recall to Russia is unrelated to the Russian election hacking controversy. It is all planned in advance.

On Sunday Buzzfeed News reported that Kislyak was instead recalled home.

"He could use some time away", a US-based diplomat told BuzzFeed.

But rumors have swirled that Kislyak could be one of the operatives behind the election meddling.

Current and former USA intelligence officials have accused Kislyak of being a spy, an allegation Russian Federation denies.

Kislyak's departure date has not been announced. Russian media has reported that Deputy Foreign Ministry Anatoly Antonov has been appointed as the new ambassador to the United States but still has to be approved by Russia's parliament.

  • Joey Payne