Russian president Vladimir Putin said Kremlin will not expel U.S. diplomats over the recent American sanctions against the country.
“We will not create problems for U.S. diplomats. We will not expel anybody,” Putin stated on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Russian foreign minister Sugei Lurvov proposed the president to expel 35 U.S diplomats as a retaliation to a similar move by Washington. The foreign ministry proposal also included banning US diplomats from using two holiday homes during the new year eve. This was again as a tit-for-tat to Washington’s banning of two Russian compounds in the country.
Vladimir Putin rejected this proposal too and refrained from imposing any bans on the movements of diplomats during the celebrations.
“The Russian diplomats returning home will spend the New Year Holidays with their relatives and dear ones,” Putin added.
The Russian president further stated that he regrets the way Obama administration is ending it’s tenure. He said Kremlin will decide the nature of ties between the two country’s after watching the policy of President-elect Trump.
“Reserving the right to retaliatory measures, we… will be planning our next steps in restoring US-Russian relations based on the policies pursued by the administration of President Donald Trump,” said Putin.
“Russia’s Foreign Ministry… has requested that the Russian president approve declaring as personae non grata 31 employees of the US embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US consulate in Saint Petersburg,” said Lurvov in a televised speech.
On Thursday, US president Barak Obama approved fresh sanctions against Russia and ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats accusing them of spying. Washington also sanctioned two Russian intelligence agencies for alleged interference in the country’s presidential elections last year.
The administration of soon-to-leave Obama blames Russia for cyber attacks on the government’s machinery to revert the presidential elections in favor of Donald Trump. Russia has repeatedly denied the accusations asking for solid evidence of Kremlin’s interference.
In response to the recent accusations and sanctions by the Obama administration, Russian prime minister Medvedev denounced the move as regrettable.
“It is regrettable that the Obama administration, which started out by restoring our ties, is ending its term in an anti-Russia agony. RIP,” Medvedev wrote on his official facebook page.