Putin decides not to expel US diplomats from Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a decision not to expel any US diplomats from Russia in retaliation for Washington’s latest sanctions against Moscow, informs TASS.
Putin has also invited all children of US diplomats to the New Year party in the Kremlin.
"The Russian diplomats returning home will spend the New Year Holidays with their relatives and dear ones. At home. We will not create problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anybody," Putin said in a statement circulated by the Kremlin press service.
Putin also said that Russia would not prevent the families and children (of diplomats) from using the customary rest and leisure facilities and sites during the New Year holidays.
Washington’s actions against Russia cause damage not only to the bilateral relations but the world as a whole, Putin said in a statement.
"We consider the new unfriendly steps by the outgoing US administration to be provocative and aimed at further undermining the Russian-US relations," he said. "This definitely contravenes the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people."
"Considering special responsibility of Russia and the United States for the preservation of global security, this causes damage to the entire complex of international relations," he added.
We recall that the Obama administration on Thursday announced its retaliation for Russian efforts to interfere with the US presidential election, ordering sweeping new sanctions that included the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. The Russians have 72 hours to leave the United States.
Obama put sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB, four GRU officers and three companies that he said "provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations." He said the State Department is closing two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland that were used by Russian personnel for "intelligence-related purposes."