Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned a new round of U.S. sanctions against Russia, but said Moscow won’t retaliate by expelling American diplomats.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave, as well as the closure of two facilities, within 72 hours to retaliate against alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election after American political sites and email accounts were hacked.
Putin, in a statement on the Kremlin’s website on Friday, referred to the new sanctions as a “provocation aimed to further undermine Russian-American relations.”
But he said Russia would not expel American diplomats in retaliation, as the Russian foreign minister had suggested Friday.
Lavrov said in televised remarks on Friday that the Foreign Ministry and other agencies had suggested that President Vladimir Putin order expulsion of 31 employees of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg.
Another suggestion was to bar U.S. diplomats from using their summer retreat on the outskirts of Moscow and a warehouse in the south of Moscow.
‘Anti-Russian death throes’
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called the new round of U.S. sanctions “anti-Russian death throes.”
When he was president between 2008 and 2012, Medvedev focused on improving U.S.-Russia ties in what became known as the “reset” policy. On Friday, he voiced disappointment with the new round of sanctions.
“It is sad that the Obama administration that began its life by restoring ties ends it with anti-Russian death throes. RIP,” Medvedev said on Twitter.
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