Who Is Bridget Brink? Joe Biden's Pick for U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine

President Joe Biden will on Monday formally nominate veteran diplomat Bridget Brink as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, according to an administration official relaying a message in Poland on Sunday.

The diplomatic post, which has remained vacant for more than two years, is expected to be filled by the career foreign service officer, who has held the position of U.S. ambassador to Slovakia since July 2019, reporters were told as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The news came as Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine reached its two-month mark on Sunday. Talks about Brink being appointed as ambassador to Ukraine have reportedly been underway since at least early February, prior to the war, a U.S. official familiar with the decision told The Associated Press (AP).

The last official ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was removed by former President Donald Trump in May 2019.

Who Is Bridget Brink?

Currently the U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, Brink formerly served on the National Security Council and at U.S. outposts in Serbia, Uzbekistan, Georgia and elsewhere. With more than two decades in the foreign service, Brink has focused largely on Europe and Eurasia.

Originally from Michigan, Brink was appointed to her current role by Trump, and most recently served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the Department of State. She was also deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 2014 to 2015, and in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 2011 to 2014.

Brink's expertise in Ukrainian affairs is "limited," non-profit Ukrainian media outlet European Pravda noted, citing Ukrainian observers who describe her as a diplomat who specializes in European "hotspots."

While serving as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the Department of State in 2015, Ukraine was among Brink's areas of responsibility.

Brink speaks Russian, Serbian, basic Georgian and French. She holds Master's degrees in International Relations and Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Kenyon College.

Is Brink Likely to Be Confirmed?

Shortly after Yovanovitch was removed as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine by Trump, William B. Taylor Jr., a retired veteran diplomat, assumed the position on a temporary basis until early 2020.

Responding to the news that Brink will soon be named as Biden's pick for the role, Taylor told The New York Times that it's been "a long time coming."

"I'm glad it's finally happening," he said. "It will be great to have a Senate-confirmed ambassador out there who clearly has the authority to speak to the president."

Taylor told the news outlet that he believes Brink is likely to gain bipartisan backing in Congress because many Republican senators have been supporting the president's efforts to assist Ukraine following Putin's invasion, which began on February 24.

According to the The New York Times, U.S. officials had been waiting for the Ukrainian government to approve of Brink before announcing her name. The AP reported in February that Brink was still being vetted by Kyiv.

Newsweek has contacted Brink and White House officials for comment.

Who Is Bridget Brink? Joe Biden's Pick
Ambassador Bridget Brink (L), the U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia. Briget Brink and Slovak Special Operations Forces Commander Brigadier General Benka (R) in Trencin Slovakia. usambslovakia/Instagram