Russia will not expel US diplomats, this is ‘kitchen diplomacy’: Putin

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MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to a series of retaliatory measures announced by President Obama for “Russia’s interference in the U.S. election” on Friday morning.

Putin called Obama’s decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and their families from the U.S. “provocative” and an act of “kitchen diplomacy.”
“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.”
He said “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.”
Putin said that despite the provocative decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S., Russia would not expel U.S. diplomats in the same fashion. He did, however, declare that Moscow reserves the “right to retaliate.”
Here is the full statement by the president:
“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.”
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