Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that he is not planning on expelling US diplomats, following the news that the US is to impose further sanctions and expel dozens of Russian diplomats.
“Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration,” Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin.
“The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends,” Putin said, adding that, “We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays.”
Additionally, Putin invited all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.
On Thursday, the Obama Administration announced that it is expelling around three dozen Russian diplomats, as well as imposing new economic sanctions as a result of alleged Russian hacking during the US presidential election.
Putin said in the statement that the US decision are, “unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship.”
“This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people,” Putin said, adding, “Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.”
Putin also used the opportunity to offer New Year’s wishes.
“It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner,” Putin said. “Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.”
“My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people,” Putin added.
For his part, US President-elect Donald Trump said in a statement that the country needs to “move on to bigger and better things.”