MOSCOW— A career Russian diplomat, who gained the reputation of a hawk during his earlier tenure at the Defense Ministry, was named the new ambassador to the United States on Friday.

The 62-year old Anatoly Antonov was appointed to the job by President Vladimir Putin’s order, according to the Kremlin.

Antonov takes the job at a time when U.S.-Russia relations are badly strained after approval of a new wave of U.S. sanctions against Moscow and the Kremlin’s decision to sharply cut U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia.

He succeeds Sergei Kislyak, who found himself amid claims of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential vote.