Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow will not expel American diplomats in response to US sanctions against Russia, according to Russian state media. The Russian Foreign Ministry had earlier recommended the Kremlin send home 35 US diplomats in response to a similar move by Washington on Thursday.
But Putin said he would not take immediate action, and would instead attempt to rebuild relations with the US after the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump. Putin was quoted by Sputnik as saying: “We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not send anyone away. We will not prohibit their families and children to use for their usual vacation spots in the New Year’s holidays.”
However, Putin said that Russia reserved the right to respond to the new US sanctions. “Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policies carried out by the administration of President Trump,” Putin said in a statement issued by the Kremlin.