thetimes.co.uk | Donald Trump applauded President Putin last night for humiliating the Obama administration by shrugging off the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.
Mr Putin said that there would be no tit-for-tat measures against the United States — a move framed by the Kremlin as a benevolent new year gesture, contrasting with the last vengeful kick of President Obama.
On Thursday night Mr Obama ordered 35 alleged Russian “intelligence operatives” out of the country as punishment for hacking activities. He also shut down two country estates where Russian diplomats spent their weekends.
“We are not going to create problems for American diplomats,” Mr Putin said in a statement issued by the Kremlin. “We are not going to expel anyone.”
Instead he promised to focus on building new relations with Mr Trump, the incoming US president, ignoring the “provocative” and “irresponsible” politics of the present administration.
FP | Various government spokespeople began to paint a picture of sanctions pushed personally by a bitter man. These were Barack Obama’s sanctions, not Donald Trump’s — not even U.S. sanctions. They were the sanctions pushed in a final, futile burst of hatred by a lame-duck president. Even Secretary of State John Kerry was a “good man,” undermined by an emotional president, according to the Foreign Ministry’s Zakharova.
The surprise came around 4 p.m. local time, via a statement was published on the Kremlin’s website. Russia would resist even the minimum expected diplomatic response of retaliatory expulsions, the statement read: “[Russia] 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 even invited the children of U.S. diplomats to his New Year’s party.