The Washington Post reports: In a rare break from the diplomatic tradition of reciprocal punishment, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he would not deport U.S. diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to U.S. hacking sanctions, as Russia looks to cultivate relations with the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
“We won’t create problems for American diplomats,” Putin said in a statement released by his press service Friday afternoon, adding that Russia retained the right to punish U.S. diplomats in the future. He said he would “plan further steps for restoring the Russian-American relationship based on the policies enacted by the administration of President Donald Trump.”
The surprising decision came just hours after the Russian Foreign Ministry suggested that Putin expel 35 U.S. diplomats and close two properties used by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow as part of a growing diplomatic slugfest over Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The measures were suggested one day after President Obama announced he would expel 35 Russian diplomats from the United States and order the closure of Russian-owned facilities on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and on Long Island in New York believed to have been used for intelligence purposes. [Continue reading…]