Vladimir the merciful?
Following this morning’s reports that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would recommend to Russian President Vladimir Putin to retaliate in kind and expel 35 American diplomats, saying that “we cannot leave such acts unanswered. Reciprocity is part of diplomatic law” with Putin spokesman Peskov warning that “there is no doubt that Russia’s adequate and mirror response will make Washington officials feel very uncomfortable as well”, it was ultimately up to Putin to make a decision.
Which he did moments ago, when in a stunning reversal, the Russian leader took the high road, and in a statement said that, contrary to expectations, Russia won’t expel any Americans in retaliation to US moves, in a brutal demonstration of just how irrelevant Obama’s 11th hour decision is for US-Russian relations.
In the statement Putin said that Russia won’t cause problems to U.S. diplomats or deport anyone, adding that Russia has the right to respond in tit-for-tat manner, but it will not engage in irresponsible diplomacy.
The punchline, however, was saved for what may be Russia’s final slam of the debacle that is Obama’s administration saying that “It’s a pity that the current U.S. administration is finishing their work in such a manner” saying that Russia refuses “to sink to the level of this irresponsible “kitchen” diplomacy.”
Putin ended the statement by congratulating U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, and the American people on the New Year and invited the hildren of US diplomats to a holiday celebration at the Kremlin.
From the full statement posted on the Kremlin website:
“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,”
And with that one statement, Obama lost the diplomatic war with Russia.