Amid Russia crisis, Italy and Poland compete for position of new EU foreign policy chief

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The top diplomats of Italy and Poland are competing for the prestigious position of EU foreign policy chief amid the unfolding tensions with Russia.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi's office said Friday it officially nominated Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini for the position, while Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said his top diplomat, Radek Sikorski, was the ideal candidate.

The choice comes at a time of heightened tension with Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and several eastern European governments reject Mogherini as too Moscow-friendly. Sikorski is viewed as so critical of Russia that his appointment could jeopardize a possible reconciliation with Russia.

A summit of the EU's 28 leaders on Aug. 30 is set to pick the successor to foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, whose term expires in October.