Putin: No expulsions in response to US sanctions
Vladimir Putin condemns President Obama’s actions against its officials but says he will not stoop to the same level.
Vladimir Putin has said he will not expel American diplomats
Vladimir Putin has rejected plans to expel US diplomats in a tit-for-tat retaliation against Washington – and instead invited their children to visit the Kremlin.
The surprise announcement from the Russian President comes hours after foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said he would be asking Mr Putin to declare 35 US officials in Moscow and St Petersburg as “persona non grata” – the same number being expelled by the US.
Mr Putin condemned the US action and said Russia had “all the grounds for a comparable response” but added: “We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not expel anyone.”
He said he reserved the right to retaliate but would wait and see how Donald Trump acts when he succeeds President Barack Obama next month.
Mr Trump responded on Twitter, praising Mr Putin’s “great move on delay” and adding: “I always knew he was very smart!”.
The Russian President said he would not stoop to the level of “kitchen irresponsible diplomacy” and even extended an invitation to the children of American diplomats to a festive party at the Kremlin.
His unexpected response comes after President Obama reignited simmering diplomatic tensions with Moscow just three weeks before he leaves the White House.
Mr Obama took action in response to cyber attacks blamed on Russia that disrupted the US presidential election, and claims of harassment of US diplomats in Russia.
Culled from: Sky News