DECEMBER 31, 2016 – Incoming U.S. President Donald Trump has hailed the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to delay his planned expulsion of 35 U.S. diplomats.
Putin’s planned expulsion of 35 U.S. diplomats was in response to Thursday’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from U.S. among other sanctions over Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.
The News York Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Trump, who had consistently dismissed Russia’s involvement in the hack, took to his twitter handle and called Putin’s decision a “great move”.
“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump tweeted.
Reports quoted Putin as saying on Friday that Moscow would not expel American diplomats in response to U.S. sanctions against Russia.
“Further steps toward the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policies carried out by the administration of President Trump,” a Kremlin statement said.
Putin said he would not pursue “irresponsible diplomacy” and would instead attempt to rebuild relations with Washington after the inauguration of Trump.
However, Putin said that Russia reserved the right to respond to the new U.S. sanctions, which included the expulsion of 35 diplomats from the U.S.
The Obama had on Thursday said his actions were “in response to Russian malicious cyber activity and harassment”.
“Today, I have ordered a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election.
“These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behaviour.”
“The State Department is also shutting down two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York, used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes, and is declaring “persona non grata” 35 Russian intelligence operatives.
“Finally, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are releasing declassified technical information on Russian civilian and military intelligence service cyber activity.
“This is to help network defenders in the United States and abroad identify, detect, and disrupt Russia’s global campaign of malicious cyber activities,” Obama said.
The House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, had thrown his weight behind Obama’s decision, describing it as “long overdue”.
Many Republican Congress members have criticised Russia’s alleged meddlesomeness in the election against Donald Trump’s position on the issue.
Trump had in a series of tweets, dismissed the hacking allegations and even retweeted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tweet against Democratic Hillary Clinton lost presidency.
“Vladimir Putin said today about Hillary and Dems: In my opinion, it is humiliating. One must be able to lose with dignity. So true!” Trump had said.
“Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and we tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!”
“If Russia, or some other entity was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”
“Are we talking about the same cyber-attack where it was revealed that head of the DNC (Democratic National Congress) illegally gave Hillary the questions to the debate?” Trump had also tweeted.