Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed President Obama’s order that 35 Russian diplomats leave the country, in response to assertions by the intelligence community that Russia had hacked into Democratic email accounts.
In a statement, Putin said that Obama’s actions were a provocation, but said he would not respond in kind, in spite of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s proposal that he expel 35 diplomats from Russia.
“Reserving the right to retaliate, we will not resort to the level of irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy,” Putin said in a translated statement, calling it “regrettable” that Obama was choosing to end his administration with the provocative action.
Putin said any attempt to further engage with the United States would take place in the upcoming Donald Trump administration.
He added that he would not expel any United States diplomats, but would allow them to enjoy their vacations in the usual locations. He also invited all the children of U.S. diplomats in Russia to the New Year and Christmas celebration at the Kremlin.
Despite the President’s actions, Putin wished the Obama family a Happy New Year, and wished President-elect Trump and the American people the same.