Russia will not expel U.S. diplomats from Moscow: Putin

| Updated: Dec 31, 2016 15:34 IST

Moscow [Russia], Dec. 31 (ANI): Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to the United States' sanctions against the country and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from Washington by deciding not to expel any U.S. diplomats from the Russia. Putin has invited U.S. diplomat's children accredited in Russia to the New Year party in the Kremlin. He asserted that the move by Washington against Russia causes damage not only to the bilateral relations but the world as a whole. "We consider the new unfriendly steps by the outgoing U.S. administration to be provocative and aimed at further undermining the Russian-US relations. This definitely contravenes the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people," Tass News agency quoted, Putin, as saying. He said that Russia has every reason for an adequate response in accordance with the established international practice. "While reserving the right to take retaliatory measures, we will not stoop to the level of the so-called 'catfight', irresponsible diplomacy and take further steps to restore the Russian-US relations taking into account the policy that will be pursued by the administration of President Donald Trump," he said. The President said that Russia will not create problems for U.S. diplomats by expelling them and neither will they prevent their families from using the customary rest and leisure facilities and sites during the New Year holidays. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had suggested expelling 35 U.S. diplomats in response to sanctions announced by Washington. United States President Barack Obama had imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia's alleged interference in the November 2016 U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts. The State Department had expelled 35 Russian diplomats from its embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco, giving them and their families 72 hours to leave the United States. (ANI)