Expulsion of diplomats: In row with US, Putin rules out tit-for-tat move

Says will wait for Trump to decide on any further steps


Reuters December 31, 2016

MOSCOW: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Moscow will not expel anyone in response to Washington’s decision to throw out 35 suspected Russian spies and sanction intelligence agencies it believes were involved in computer hacking in the 2016 presidential election.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier proposed expelling 35 US diplomats after outgoing US President Barack Obama ordered the expulsions and sanctions on Thursday.

But Putin said he would wait for the actions of President-elect Donald Trump, who will take office on January 20, before deciding on any further steps in relations with the United States.

“We will not expel anyone,” Putin said in a statement. “While keeping the right for retaliatory measures, we will not descend to the level of ‘kitchen’, irresponsible diplomacy.”

He even invited the children of US diplomats to a party in the Kremlin.

It was not clear whether Trump, who has repeatedly praised Putin and nominated people seen as friendly toward Moscow to senior administration posts, would seek to roll back the measures which mark a new post-Cold War low in US-Russia ties.

Russian officials have portrayed the sanctions as a last act of a lame-duck president and suggested that Trump could reverse them when he takes over the White House. “Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policy which the administration of President Trump will carry out,” said Putin.

In a separate message of New Year congratulations to Trump, he said Russia-US relations were an important factor for maintaining global safety and stability.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2016.

Our Publications

Most Read

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ