A statement released by Russian President Vladimir Putin says that there are no plans to expel American diplomats from Russia in response to Thursday's newly-announced sanctions against Russian officials and intelligence services. Putin said that there are no plans to "create any problems" for American diplomats and that he looks forward to the Trump administration.
In addition to not retaliating against Obama's sanctions, Putin then proceeded to invite every American diplomat's child to a Christmas party at the Kremlin.
As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.
The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.
While some have questioned the curious timing behind the sanctions (given that the compounds ordered closed had been known about for years), they also gave Putin the ability to appear to be the bigger person during this whole dust-up. I mean, come on--when one country is expelling diplomats, it doesn't look so good when the other is effectively shrugging and inviting a bunch of kids to a party in response. Putin's response makes Obama look childish, which I'm assuming is the opposite of what the current administration wanted.