The former deputy defense minister, who is widely seen as a “hardliner” was first chosen as a possible candidate in the autumn of 2016 during the presidential campaign.

The news of Monday’s appointment comes as the U.S. Embassy in Russia is temporarily suspending processing non-immigrant visa applications in response to Russia’s expulsion of American diplomats.

“Due to the Russian government-imposed cap on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, all non-immigrant visa operations across Russia will be suspended on Aug. 23,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement published Monday morning.

The move is just the latest in a series of tit-for-tat measures between Russia and the United States as part of an ongoing diplomatic spat over fresh sanctions codified by U.S. President Donald Trump on Aug. 2.