Putin Says Russia Won’t Expel US Diplomats In Response To New Sanctions

Sergey Guneev/SPTNK

In a statement posted Friday on the Kremlin’s website, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that no U.S. diplomats will be expelled in response to the White House’s announcement of new sanctions against individuals and entities associated with Russian intelligence for election-related hacking.

“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 statement reads. “We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone.”

Putin called the Obama administration’s actions “provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship” and “damaging to international relations as a whole,” and described the response as a “regrettable” end to its term.

In an amended executive order issued Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama sanctioned the GRU and the FSB, Russian intelligence services, as well as four individuals and five entities.

The order also authorized Obama to close two Russian compounds in the United States used for “intelligence-related purposes” and to declare 35 “intelligence operatives” persona non grata as part of a response to what a State department spokesman described as a “pattern of harassment” affecting U.S. diplomats overseas.

In a statement released Thursday, Obama said his executive order followed “repeated private and public warnings” to the Russian government and that the actions it listed are “not the sum total” of the United States’ response.