President-elect Donald Trump Friday praised Russian President Vladimir Putin's "great move" in not expelling American diplomats in retaliation for President Barack Obama's sweeping executive orders Thursday toward Moscow over hacking during the presidential election.
Trump said on Twitter:
The Russians also retweeted Trump’s post:
Putin said Friday that Moscow would not eject American diplomats in response to what he described as "provocation aimed at further undermining Russian-American relations" after Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in response to the hacks.
The White House declared the diplomats persona non grata, giving them 72 hours to leave the United States. The compounds to be closed were located in Maryland and New York.
"The Russian diplomats returning home will spend the New Year holidays with their relatives and dear ones," Putin said in a statement published on his government's website. "We will not create problems for U.S. diplomats.
"We will not expel anybody.
"Moreover," the statement added, "I am inviting all children of U.S. diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas parties at the Kremlin."
New Year's Eve has been the main holiday in Russia since Soviet times. Russians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.
Obama on Thursday ordered sanctions against the GRU and FSB, the Russian intelligence agencies the U.S. that he said were involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee and other party operatives.
In a coordinated response by at least five federal agencies, the Obama administration also sought to expose Russia's cyber tactics with a detailed technical report and hinted it might still launch a covert counterattack.
"All Americans should be alarmed by Russia's actions," Obama said Thursday.
Trump responded to Obama's actions by saying that the U.S. should move on, adding that he would meet with U.S. intelligence leaders next week to learn more about Russia's hacking activities.
"It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things," the president elect said. "Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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