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Putin: Russia will not expel US diplomats

Russian President Vladimir Putin decided not to expel any US diplomats from Russia in retaliation for Washington’s latest sanctions against Moscow.
Putin: Russia will not expel US diplomats

“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, according to TASS news agency.

According to the report, Moscow reserves the right to take actions in retaliation for the new Washington’s sanctions against Russia and the expulsion of Russian diplomats, but it will not stoop to kitchen diplomacy, Putin stated.

“We reserve the right to take retaliatory measures but we will not stoop to the level of the so-called kitchen diplomacy, so we will take further steps to restore Russia-US relations taking into account the Trump administration’s policy,” Putin said.

On Thursday, the US announced the retaliatory actions against Russia for interfering directly in the 2016 US presidential election campaign.

According to the sanctions, 35 Russian diplomats were declared “persona non grata” and given 72 hours to leave the country with their families. Two properties in the states of New York and Maryland used by Russian intelligence services in will be closed.

The government also sanctioned nine entities and individuals: the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s operations; and two Russian individuals for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.