Trump praises ‘very smart’ Putin for not expelling US diplomats

Vladimir Putin has refused to engage in tit-for-tat diplomacy after the US expelled 35 Russian diplomats amid a row over cyber-hacking.

Just hours after the Russian foreign
minster said he was recommending a symmetrical response, Putin said his country had every right to make such a move but that he would not “drop to this level of irresponsible diplomacy”.

He said his government would instead wait to see how relations developed under the incoming president, Donald Trump , who later described the Russian leader in a tweet as “very smart”.

“We will make further steps to help
resurrect Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of Trump will pursue,” the Russian president said in a statement on the Kremlin’s website.

Putin, mindful that Trump will be in the White House in just three weeks, went on in an almost teasing way to wish Barack Obama and his family, and Trump and the American people a happy new year.

He invited “all the children of American diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas celebrations in the
Kremlin”.

His stance appeared to be warmly
welcomed by the president-elect.

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