U.S. diplomat Marie Yovanovitch retires

U.S. diplomat Marie Yovanovitch retires

PanARMENIAN.Net - Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie "Masha" Yovanovitch -- a highly respected career diplomat who unwittingly became one of the central figures in the impeachment drama -- has retired from the State Department, CNN reports.

Yovanovitch served as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia in 2008–2011.

The diplomat leaves after more than three decades in the foreign service. She was described as "someone who has never been hungry for the spotlight," by one former State Department official.

It is unclear when exactly Yovanovitch retired, but the official said it was sometime in the last two weeks. She had most recently been serving as a senior State Department fellow at Georgetown University.

She was removed from her post as the U.S. ambassador in Kiev in May 2019 after a targeted campaign against her led by allies of President Donald Trump.

Yovanovitch served as a witness in the House impeachment inquiry, testifying both publicly and privately. She was repeatedly maligned by the President -- including on a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. She said she was "devastated" to find out that Trump had discussed her in such a negative way during his call with Zelensky in July. She said Trump's comments about her "sounded like a threat." Recent evidence suggested she may have been surveilled while serving in Ukraine.

Although the diplomatic corps continually rallied to her side, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeatedly failed to defend her from attacks. On Friday, Pompeo denied that he felt any "moral tension" about how she had been treated.

"We delivered for the President of the United States on a Ukraine policy that will benefit the American people I hope for years and years to come," Pompeo said in an interview with ABC News.

Yovanovitch is the fourth State Department official tied to the impeachment to leave -- following former U.S. Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker, former Pompeo adviser Michael McKinley and Ambassador Bill Taylor, who took over as the top US diplomat in Kiev following her departure.

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