Q&A | Russia’s invasion of Ukraine one year later with Ambassador John Sullivan


Ambassador John Sullivan joined ISD’s Director of Programs and Research Dr. Kelly McFarland on this special recorded Q&A for the Diplomatic Pouch. They discuss the now-year-long Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ambassador Sullivan’s time as U.S. ambassador to Russia, and public service at a time of hyper-partisanship.

Ambassador John Sullivan at the CSIS Advisory Board Meeting in 2018 (Image: CSIS on Flickr)

Ambassador John J. Sullivan is a Distinguished Fellow at the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University. His career spans four decades in the public sector and in private law practice. Ambassador Sullivan served five presidents in prominent diplomatic and legal positions, including as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation under Presidents Joe Biden (January 2021 to October 2022) and Donald Trump (December 2019 to January 2021). Before his post in Moscow, he served for almost three years as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State after a bipartisan 94–6 confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate in 2017. As deputy secretary, Ambassador Sullivan was responsible for both the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy and the management of the State Department’s global operations. He was the acting Secretary of State in March-April 2018, among the longest tenures in history of anyone in that position.

In the private sector, Ambassador Sullivan was a partner in the global law firm Mayer Brown LLP, where he co-chaired the national security practice and focused on the complex intersections of global trade and investment and U.S. national security and foreign policies. From 2010 to 2016, he served by appointment of the Obama Administration as Chair of the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue, a government advisory committee of business leaders on U.S. commercial relations with Iraq.

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