The new U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, a career diplomat who previously served as the American envoy in Bulgaria, has taken up his post.

Beyrle, a specialist in U.S. relations with central and eastern Europe who speaks Russian, Bulgarian, Czech, French and German, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 27 and arrived today in Moscow, the U.S. Embassy said in a e-mailed statement.

Beyrle served two tours in Moscow, including deputy chief of mission, before moving to Bulgaria in 2005.

He replaces William Burns, the U.S. ambassador to Russia for the past 2 1/2 years. Burns left Russia in April to take up the post of undersecretary of state for political affairs in Washington, the third-highest rank in the U.S. State Department.

A graduate of Grand Valley State University in Michigan, Beyrle has a Master's Degree from the National War College. He previously served as counselor for political and economic affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, according to the U.S. Embassy statement.