US President-elect, Donald Trump, last night praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as “very smart” for not engaging in a tit-for-tat row with the US over the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats accused of espionage.
In a piece of high diplomatic theatre, the Russian president defied expectations of a Cold War-style mutual expulsion and instead met the Obama administration’s sanctions with a show of magnanimity.
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016Loading...
Chiding the outgoing president for a provocation designed to undermine US-Russian relations, Mr Putin chose instead to look forward to the incoming administration of Mr Trump who has promised a re-set with Moscow.
“We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not expel anyone,” he said. “Furthermore, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the Christmas and New Year tree in the Kremlin.”
He added: “Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policy which the administration of President D. Trump will carry out.”