Putin vetoes sanctions on U.S. diplomats

Putin vetoes sanctions on U.S. diplomats
December 31 09:16 2016

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has blocked a move to expel 35  US diplomats from Russia in retaliation for Washington’s latest sanctions against Moscow.

In what may be perceived a diplomatic master stroke, he wished President Barack Obama and his family a happy new year and invited the diplomats earlier declared persona non grata and  their children to a New Year party in the Kremlin.

Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, had declared 35 American diplomats persona non grata, in a response to President Barack Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats for ‘malicious’ meddling in US election via cyber hacking.

The American diplomats slated for expulsion include 31 personnel of the embassy in Moscow and four of the consulate general in St. Petersburg, the same number of Russian diplomats that US President Obama asked to go home

According to Putin, Washington’s actions against Russia will  damage not only the bilateral relations between them but the world as a whole.

“We consider the new unfriendly steps by the outgoing US administration to be provocative and aimed at further undermining the Russian-US relations,” he said.

“This definitely contravenes the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people.”

“Considering special responsibility of Russia and the United States for the preservation of global security, this causes damage to the entire range of international relations,” he added.

Putin  stressed that, in accordance with the established international practice, Moscow has every reason for an adequate response.

According to Putin, Russia reserves the right to retaliate, but will not stoop to diplomatic catfight.

“While reserving the right to take retaliatory measures, we will not stoop to the level of the so-called ‘catfight’, irresponsible diplomacy and take further steps to restore the Russian-US relations taking into account the policy that will be pursued by the administration of President Donald Trump,” Putin said.

The Russian leader  also wished President Obama and his family a Happy New Year and regretted  the fact that “the administration of President Barack Obama is ending its work in this way.”

Trump hails move

President-elect Donald Trump commended Vladimir Putin for not rashly retaliating the sanctions imposed on his country by President Barack Obama.

Trump tweeted his approval after Putin rejected his foreign minister’s proposal to give American diplomats the boot as payback.

“I always knew he was very smart,” Trump said on his twitter handle.