Russia not to expel anyone in response to US sanctions: Putin

Moscow, Dec 30 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday rejected a suggestion of the Foreign Ministry to expel 35 American diplomats in response to a similar move by the US.

Putin said outgoing President Barack Obama’s act was designed to provoke a reaction but Russia would not take the bait, RT News reported.

“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,” Putin said in a statement.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry earlier in the day proposed expelling the diplomats in response to the recent sanctions imposed by Washington.

“Russia’s Foreign Ministry and their colleagues from other agencies have proposed that Putin proclaim 31 employees of the US embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US consulate service in St. Petersburg as persona non-grata,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

The proposal also includes a ban on using a recreation facility and storage facility used by American diplomats in Moscow, according to Lavrov.

“We hope these proposals will be reviewed as quickly as possible,” he said.

At the same time, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova refuted a report by CNN that Russia will close a school for children of English-speaking diplomats.

Earlier in the morning, CNN said the Russian authorities “ordered the closure of the Anglo-American School of Moscow” in retaliation for the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomatic staff from the US.

The news channel cited an anonymous “US official briefed on the matter” as the source of the information.

The school “serves children of US, British and Canadian embassy personnel, to US and foreign nationals”, the report said.

“This is lies. Apparently the White House has gone completely mad and begun to invent sanctions against their own children,” Zakhrarova said.

She told the journalists: “And don’t write that ‘Moscow has denied… or Moscow will not…’ Write it as it is: ‘CNN and other Western Media once again spread false information citing US officials’.”

–IANS

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