President Donald Trump on May 1 announced his intent to nominate a retired lieutenant general of the U.S. Army as ambassador to Ukraine.
The announcement released by the White House noted:
“Keith W. Dayton currently serves as the director of the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany, a position he has held since 2010. He also serves concurrently as Senior United States Defense Advisor to Ukraine. His current service follows a four-decade career in the United States Army, retiring in 2010 with the rank of lieutenant general.
“Among his many assignments, Lt. Gen. Dayton was the United Sates Security Coordinator Israel/Palestinian Authority, the Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy, Army Staff, the Pentagon, the Director of Operations for the Defense Intelligence Agency, and United States Defense Attaché to Russia.
“Lt. Gen. Dayton earned a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., a B.A./M.A. from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, and an M.A. from the University of Southern California in conjunction with the United States Army Russian Institute in Garmish, Germany. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his military service, including from the State Department and from the Canadian, German and Austrian governments. He speaks Russian and German.”
RFE/RL noted that the position of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine has been vacant since President Trump recalled Marie Yovanovitch in May 2019 after what she said was a targeted campaign to tarnish her image. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor later served six months as chargé d’affaires while the Trump administration sought a replacement.
Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba reacted positively to the nomination of Mr. Dayton by tweeting on May 2: “I welcome the decision to nominate a new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and look forward to welcoming him in Kyiv. I have met Gen. Keith W. Dayton in his capacity of Ukraine’s defense reform adviser. Working with him has always been a wonderful experience.”
John Herbst, a political analyst at the Atlantic Council and a former ambassador to Ukraine, told RFE/RL that Mr. Dayton is a good choice because he knows the issues facing Kyiv well. Mr. Dayton’s top concerns will be the Russia-backed war in eastern Ukraine as well as Ukrainian reforms, Mr. Herbst said.
Voice of America reported that Roman Washchuk, Canada’s former ambassador to Ukraine, wrote on Twitter: “Gen. Keith Dayton is a true pro, very familiar with pol/mil realities of #Ukraine” and called his nomination “Good news for both Ukraine and Canada.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) reacted via Twitter: “Pleased to see that LTGEN Keith Dayton has been nominated to serve as the next US Ambassador to #Ukraine. He is a true patriot and dedicated friend of Ukraine. I look forward to supporting his confirmation.”
The nomination of the 71-year-old Mr. Dayton will have to be approved by the U.S. Senate.
Sources: The White House; RFE/RL, with reporting by Reuters and AP; Voice of America.