Russia "won't sink to 'kitchen diplomacy' level"
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that his country has no intention of expelling U.S. diplomats.Source: B92, RT, TASS
“We reserve the right to retaliate," he said, according to RT - but Russia "will not sink to the level of this irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy."
Putin made these statements a day after outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama ordered 35 Russian diplomats expelled and two Russian compounds shut down in response to alleged Russian efforts to influence the recent U.S. presidential elections - a charge Moscow categorically denies.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested that 35 American diplomats should be expelled in response to Obama's move.
But Putin rejected this and noted, in a statement posted on the Kremlin website: "We will take further moves on restoring Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of President-elect Donald Trump adopts."
"We consider the new unfriendly steps by the outgoing U.S .administration to be provocative and aimed at further undermining the Russian-U.S. relations. This definitely contravenes the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people," the Russian leader said, and added that this was true "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."
Russia will not target foreign diplomats and their families days before New Year’s celebrations, he said:
“We will not forbid families and children from spending the New Year’s holidays at the places they are used to. Moreover, I invite the children of all American diplomats with accreditation in Russia to New Year’s and Christmas festivities in the Kremlin."
"It is a regret that the administration of U.S. President Obama is ending its work in this way but, nevertheless, I congratulate him and the members of his family with the coming New Year.I also congratulate President-elect Trump and the entire American people! I wish everyone well-being and prosperity!," Putin concluded.