Antonov was born on 15 May 1955 in Omsk, USSR. He graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1983.
In 1978, Antonov graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), and in 1983 received a master's degree. In 2012, he earned his doctorate of political science from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow. His doctoral dissertation was entitled Controlling nuclear weapons as a factor in ensuring national and international security. He is fluent in English and Burmese.
Antonov began his diplomatic career after earning his undergraduate degree in 1978. He spent the next 30 years at the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its successor, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where his area of speciality was control of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In 2004, he was appointed Director of the Department for Security and Disarmament.
On 2 February 2011, he was promoted by a Presidential Decree to become Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation.
As Deputy Minister of Defense, he was personally sanctioned by the European Union following Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. He had accused NATO in December 2014 of turning Ukraine into a "frontline of confrontation" with Russia.
On 28 December 2016, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In March 2017, he was named as one of the candidates for the post of Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, after the death of Vitaly Churkin. However, in the end, it was decided to appoint Vasily Nebenzya to this post.
Antonov is considered a hardliner against the West, earning him a reputation as a "bull terrier." In early autumn 2016, he was considered to be the next Russian Ambassador to the United States as the Kremlin assumed that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election and, therefore, bilateral relations would remain strained. However, despite the fact that Donald Trump won the election, Antonov was still chosen to take over the post from Sergey Kislyak, who had been the ambassador since 2008. In February 2017, Antonov was named the main candidate for this post. On 11 May 2017, the Russian Foreign Ministry formally submitted Antonov to the Federal Assembly, which voted to endorse him as ambassador on 18 May following a closed session of the State Duma's foreign policy committee.
On 21 August 2017, Vladimir Putin formally appointed Antonov as the Ambassador of Russia to the United States by presidential decree. He is scheduled to arrive in the United States at the end of August and take up his post in Washington, D.C. on 1 September 2017. Denis Gonchar is acting ambassador until Antonov arrives.Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" IV class
Order of Alexander Nevsky
Order of Military Merit
Order of Honour (twice)
Order of Friendship
Medal "For the Return of Crimea"
Jubilee Medal "70 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
Medal "For strengthening combat Commonwealth"
Medal "For distinction in military service" I class
Medal "For distinction in military service" II class
Medal "For distinction in military service" III class