Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Yuri Klimenko as the new ambassador of the Russian Federation to Spain, replacing Yuri Korchagin, who had held the post since February 2012.
Klimenko’s appointment was formalised yesterday through a presidential decree, after the Spanish government gave its approval for the appointment a few weeks ago. Pedro Sánchez’s government, which, since the invasion of Ukraine, has twice summoned the hitherto ambassador, Yuri Korchagin, to express its displeasure at the Russian attitude, decided to give the go-ahead for his replacement, in order to keep diplomatic channels open with Moscow.
The Russian embassy in Spain was reduced to a minimum after the Spanish government decreed the expulsion of 27 diplomats and employees from the representation, a measure that was responded to by Putin’s government with a similar action affecting the Spanish embassy.
Klimenko, 63 years old and a career diplomat, will also be ambassador to Andorra, but not to the World Tourism Organisation, which has its headquarters in Madrid, because Russia decided last April to withdraw from this United Nations body. The move came just moments before the UNWTO General Assembly decided to expel Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
The new ambassador knows Spain well, as he has been posted in our country on two occasions, first as minister-counsellor at the Russian Embassy in Madrid and, most recently, as consul general in Barcelona, coinciding with the most intense period of the Catalan independence process, in 2017.
Throughout his diplomatic career, Klimenko has held several posts abroad and various positions in the central office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including deputy director of the department for the CIS countries and director of the first European department. He was assigned to this department, which deals with matters relating to Spain, among other EU countries.