US Expels 35 Russian Diplomats Over Cyber Attack Charges

(Maria Zakharova/pc-Google Images)

“One can only hope that this was the last thing that the current administration does to spoil bilateral relations – the last strange, unwise decision. It targeted, among other things, ordinary people and their simple human joys – things which unite people all around the world. Practically everyone celebrates the New Year, but this is what the Obama administration did,” said Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman.

“I would like to note that people who have worked in the US for just 2 months were included in the list of diplomats and diplomatic Russian missions in the United States. How could they in any way be involved in undermining the US election, as evidenced by the [US] special services, in 2015 and spring 2016, cannot be understood”, Zakharova added.

According to Zakharova, a total of 96 Russian diplomats and members of their families are forced to leave the United States.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected a suggestion of the Foreign Ministry to expel 35 American diplomats in response to a similar move by the US. Putin said that Russia “will not expel anyone” in response to US sanctions and will determine further steps in restoring ties with the United States depending on the policy of President-elect Donald Trump.

“We took into serious consideration how our American colleagues and their families would feel. Especially their children, who are now preparing for the New Year and are on their Christmas holidays,” Zakharova explained. “They would have been cut off from their school programs and forced to pack their things and go back to their homeland in 72 hours. So we decided against it.”

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