INTERNATIONAL: Putin decides against expelling US staff

By Aljazeera

2016-12-30-15_18_03-putin-decides-against-expelling-us-staff-_-russia-news-_-al-jazeeraALJAZEERA – Russia will not expel anyone in response to US sanctions against the country and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US, the Kremlin is quoting President Vladimir Putin as saying in the statement.

Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, had earlier said he had proposed to Putin that Russia expel 35 US diplomats and ban US diplomatic staff from using two facilities in Moscow in retaliation for expulsions and sanctions imposed by the US.

However, Putin said he saw the US step to expel diplomats as a move to undermine relations between the two countries, according to RIA, the Russian state news agency.

“We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not expel anyone,” Putin said in a statement which added that he would consider the actions of President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office next month, when deciding on further steps in Russia-US relations.

US President Barack Obama had all but accused Putin of personally ordering a cyber-hack that many Democrats believe damaged Hillary Clinton’s chances in November’s closely fought election with Republican foe Trump.

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