Longtime American diplomat John Tefft, the president's pick to be the next ambassador to the Russian Federation, said Tuesday he wants to "keep the pressure on" Russia in the midst of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Tefft, who has also served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Lithuania and Georgia, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday afternoon.

If confirmed for his fourth ambassadorship, Tefft says he will continue to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a chance to deescalate violence in the region while bolstering Ukrainian sovereignty.