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Former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be ambassador to Russia on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein


MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Tuesday it hoped that President Donald Trump's new ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, could help breathe new life into battered U.S.-Russia relations.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the comments to reporters in a conference call ahead of Huntsman presenting his diplomatic credentials to President Vladimir Putin later on Tuesday.

"We hope that, headed by the new ambassador, the U.S. diplomatic mission to Russia will be able to significantly contribute to repairing the damage done by Washington's actions to our relations," said Peskov.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, an experienced diplomat, was confirmed as ambassador by the U.S. Senate at the end of last month.

Huntsman takes on the post in Moscow as congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller investigate allegations that Russia sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Trump's behalf, as well as potential collusion with Moscow by Trump associates.

Moscow denies such activity and Trump dismisses any talk of collusion.

Huntsman said at his confirmation hearing that there was no question Russia interfered during the 2016 campaign.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Christian Lowe)

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