United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) interim leader Nigel Farage © Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
30 Dec, 2016
The MEP and prominent Brexit campaigner commended Putin on Twitter, describing the move as “mature.”
Farage, who has cultivated a close relationship with US President-elect Donald Trump since the US election, went on to say the new administration “can’t come soon enough.”
Pleased to see a mature response from Putin. A @realDonaldTrump presidency can’t come soon enough.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 30, 2016
On Friday, Putin rejected calls by the Russian Foreign Ministry to expel 35 American diplomats in response to a similar move by the US.
He said Obama’s act was designed to provoke a reaction, but Russia would not take the bait.
US President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats on Thursday, giving them 72 hours to leave US soil.
Obama described the diplomats as “intelligence operatives” and also announced the closure of two Russian compounds in the US.
In a statement published on the Kremlin website, Putin said: “We reserve the right to retaliate, but we will not sink to the level of this irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy.
“We will take further moves on restoring Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of President-elect Donald Trump adopts.”
Obama said in a statement the expulsions were “in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the US election.”
Moscow denies the allegations.
Putin: Russia will not expel anyone in response to US sanctions
30 Dec, 2016
“We reserve the right to retaliate, but we will not sink to the level of this irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy. We will take further moves on restoring Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of President-elect Donald Trump adopts,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement published by the Kremlin website.
Putin said that, unlike the Obama administration, Russia will not target foreign diplomats and their families days before New Year’s celebrations.
“We will not forbid families and children from spending the New Year’s holidays at the places they are used to. Moreover, I invite the children of all American diplomats with accreditation in Russia to New Year’s and Christmas festivities in the Kremlin,” the Russian president said.
Putin said he regretted that US President Barack Obama is ending his term “in such a way,” but that he extended his New Year’s congratulations to the outgoing US president and his family nevertheless.
“I congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and the entire American people!” he concluded.
The Kremlin said it will send a government plane to the US to evacuate the expelled diplomats and their family members. Earlier, there were reports that the diplomats were having problems buying tickets on such short notice, with airlines already booked by New Year’s travelers.