Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan has met with his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Antonov, in Washington.

FILE – Anatoly Antonov, Russian ambassador to the U.S. gestures while speaking during a round-table discussion on the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in Moscow, July 20, 2018.

“The sides exchanged views on the current status and prospective development of Russian-U.S. relations,” the Russian Embassy said in a statement following the December 30 meeting.

Sullivan, who has served in two previous administrations and is a close ally of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was confirmed by the Senate on December 12. He was sworn in on December 23.

Sullivan, as deputy secretary of state in the administration of President Donald Trump, has been involved in developing U.S. policy on Russia, led counterterrorism talks with Moscow in July, and has been involved in restarting negotiations on a broad range of security issues.

He also briefly served as acting secretary of state following the resignation of Rex Tillerson in the spring of 2018. As ambassador, Sullivan succeeds Jon Huntsman Jr., who resigned in August.

During his confirmation hearing in December, Sullivan said that “our relationship with Russia has reached a post-Cold War ebb,” and listed a number of examples of “Russia’s malign actions” that have strained relations.

Among them he named “attempting to interfere in our and our allies’ elections, violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia, employing a weapon of mass destruction in an attempt to assassinate its citizens abroad, violating the INF Treaty, and infringing on the basic human rights of its people.”

However, he added, “the need for principled engagement with Russia is as important to our national interest as ever.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has described Sullivan as “a highly professional and experienced diplomat.”