Senior White House official tapped to serve in important European ambassadorial role amid Ukraine concerns

President Joe Biden is tapping a senior White House official to serve as US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a key body amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and at a time when the US is seeking to project confidence about its support for Ukraine, according to an announcement from the White House.

Curtis Ried, a longtime career foreign service officer who has served under two presidents at the White House, who currently serves as chief of staff and counselor of the White House National Security Council is being nominated for the post, CNN has learned.

Ried played a key role in resettling Afghans who worked for the federal government in the US following the withdrawal from Afghanistan, was involved in the administration’s strategy related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and most recently, has taken the lead in shoring up humanitarian aid into Gaza. Ried also has an extensive background in multilateral diplomacy, holding positions at the United Nations, among other diplomatic assignments.

As Congress grapples with next steps on Ukraine aid, Biden administration officials have warned of the consequences if Ukraine doesn’t receive billions in additional funding, citing losses on the battlefield and ceding ground to Russia.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, Biden called it a “pivotal moment,” adding that Israel and Ukraine “depend on American assistance, including weaponry” to defend themselves.

The OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization and is made up of 57 members, including Russia.

Months after Russia invaded Ukraine, an expert report from the organization found “clear patterns” of violations of international humanitarian law by Russian forces in Ukraine and detailed numerous incidents that it says could constitute war crimes. Then US Ambassador Michael Carpenter said at the time the report documented “the sheer scope of the Russian government’s cruelty.”

Carpenter, who stepped down from the post earlier this year, now serves as the senior director for Europe at the National Security Council.

The move to nominate Ried comes as the US seeks to reaffirm leadership on the world stage amid political wrangling in Washington that’s stalled aid to Ukraine. CIA Director Bill Burns on Thursday warned that unless the US sends more military support, Ukraine could “lose” the war against Russia by the end of the year.

It’s unclear, however, when Ried would assume the post as the nomination still needs to work its way through the Senate. He’s expected to remain in his current post for now.

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