Russia on Friday appointed Nikolay Nozdrev, a director in charge of Japan and other Asian countries at the country's Foreign Ministry, as its new ambassador to Japan, a post left vacant for a year amid strained ties in the wake of the Russian war on Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order naming Nozdrev, who is fluent in Japanese, as successor to Mikhail Galuzin, who left the post in November 2022. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began in February of that year, has led to Japan imposing economic sanctions against Moscow in line with Western nations.

Screenshot of the Russian Foreign Ministry website shows Nikolay Nozdrev. (Kyodo)

Nozdrev entered the Foreign Ministry after graduating from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1994. He also served as counsellor at Russia's embassy in Australia from 2010 to 2015.

Japan's ambassador to Russia, Akira Muto, already took up his post in December.

Bilateral ties turned sour after Japan took punitive measures such as freezing Putin's assets. Russia had also designated Japan as an "unfriendly" country.