Putin: We Will Not Expel US Diplomats After 'Provocative' Move by Obama
The Kremlin has responded this morning to a new set of sanctions announced by President Obama in response to Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election.
President Vladimir Putin called the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S., along with other measures, "provocative" and termed it "kitchen diplomacy."
Putin said U.S. diplomats will not be expelled from Russia, but also said Moscow has the "right to retaliate."
"We 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," he said.
Here is the full statement:
We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship. This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people.
Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole. As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we 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.
The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year's holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year's holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children's parties in the Kremlin.
It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family. My season's greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.
I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.
On "America's Newsroom" today, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) weighed in on the sanctions, emphasizing that Russia has advanced around the world while the U.S. has retreated during the Obama administration.
Kinzinger said President-elect Donald Trump's Russia strategy remains a "question mark," adding that he is "optimistic" about what Trump will do.
"It's OK to say we want to reengage the Russians and have talks. That's great. But it's another thing entirely to say the Russians are really our friends. ... That's not the case at all. I hope some of his words change, but I think he's going to be a fantastic president on a lot of fronts."
Watch the full interview above.