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Putin names ambassador to new post in Cabinet

June 03, 2008|From the Associated Press

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appointed Russia's longtime ambassador to the U.S. to his Cabinet on Monday, a choice likely to deepen speculation that the former president will claim a strong foreign-policy role.

Putin named Yuri Ushakov as a deputy Cabinet chief of staff, government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Peskov said Ushakov's post -- with responsibility for coordinating the foreign relations of the prime minister and Cabinet -- is new.

Putin -- prohibited by Russia's constitution from serving a third term -- became prime minister last month after ceding the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev, his handpicked successor.

He has stressed that presidential powers such as setting foreign policy will not shift to him as prime minister.

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