Putin says he won’t deport US diplomats as he looks to cultivate relations with Trump

On a day when everyone expected him to go low, Russian President Vladimir Putin took the high road, bowing out of a growing diplomatic showdown with the administration of President Obama in a gambit to woo his successor, Donald Trump.

In was a rare, and calculated, break from the diplomatic tradition of reciprocal punishment, Putin opted to do nothing after the United States said it would expel 35 Russian diplomats and close a pair of Russian-owned properties in retaliation for Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.

Putin said that he would wait to see how U.S.-Russian relations develop under the new Trump administration before planning “any further steps” on the issue. 

 Until Putin’s surprise decision Friday, all signs pointed toward the familiar, hard-nosed Kremlin response of years past. In 2013, when Russia was slapped with U.S. sanctions over the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Putin shot back by signing a ban on all foreign adoptions of Russian children, just days after Christmas, sparking outrage.

But this time, with the Kremlin bidding farewell to Obama and betting that a friendly Trump administration will bring fresh opportunities to escape sanctions and make a grab for greater power status, Putin waxed magnanimous. 

“We will not create any problems for U.S. diplomats,” Putin said in a statement late Friday afternoon. “We will not expel

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-plans-retaliation-and-serious-discomfortoverus-hacking-sanctions/2016/12/30/4efd3650-ce12-11e6-85cd-e66532e35a44_story.html

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