Putin says he will not kick out American diplomats after sanctions


(N.Y Daily News) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he will not issue a tit-for-tat response to U.S. sanctions, and will instead wait to work with President-elect Donald Trump.

Russian officials responded angrily to Obama administration measures meant to punish its intelligence services for interfering in the U.S. election, with the country’s foreign minister saying it may mirror its Cold War rival by kicking out diplomats.

Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov told news agency Interfax that he has offered to President Vladimir Putin to telling 31 employees at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and four from the consulate in St. Petersburg to leave Russia.

The proposed move came a day after 35 Russian diplomats were declared “persona non grata” by the U.S. and said to be “intelligence operatives” believed to be connected to the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails released through Wikileaks in July.

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The U.S. also imposed sanctions on the KGB’s successor FSB and Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, adding that Russian-owned compounds in Maryland and on Long Island would be closed because they were being used for intelligence purposes.

Lavrov, who along with Putin has denied claims of meddling in the U.S. elections to favor Donald Trump, said that the properties were used for children’s camps.

Putin said in a statement on the Kremlin’s website Friday, however, that no American diplomats would be sent packing.

The former KGB agent said that the Obama sanctions were a “provocation” detrimental to global security and cooperation, and that it is “reserving the right to retaliate.”

Obama boots Russian spies, sanctions intel agencies over hacks

However, he said that he would not expel any embassy or consulate officials and that work to repair U.S.-Russian relations, at their lowest point in decades, would happen with Trump.

Russian officials originally responded to Thursday’s sanctions by calling the Obama administration “foreign policy losers” and suggesting that the sanctions were meant to hamper Trump, who has praised Putin and called for Russia to hack opponent Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Trump said in a statement Thursday that “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things” but said that he would meet with intelligence officials about the matter next week.

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