Russian President Vladimir Putin struck back after President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia in retaliation for its hacking of the Democratic National Committee servers and alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election. Putin’s response was an attempt come across as the calm, reasonable leader trying to tolerate a belligerent Obama.
Yesterday evening Politico reported, “Russian authorities…announced the closure of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, hours after the Kremlin vowed to retaliate against recent US sanctions.” Politico adds that “the non-profit day school, which enrolls international students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, will be closed along with the US embassy vacation dacha in Serebryany Bor in the outskirts of Moscow.”
CNN reported that “Russia’s Foreign Ministry has recommended that the Kremlin expel 35 US diplomats from Russia in response to sanctions announced by Washington, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday. Lavrov said his ministry proposed that 31 staff members be expelled from the US Embassy in Moscow and four from the US consulate in St Petersburg.”
Russia’s embassy in London tweeted that everybody will be glad to see the last of the Obama Administration:
President Obama expels 35 🇷🇺 diplomats in Cold War deja vu. As everybody, incl 🇺🇸 people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Adm. pic.twitter.com/mleqA16H8D
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) December 29, 2016
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev accused the Obama administration of ending its term in office “in anti-Russian agony.”
Now CNN reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow will not expel American diplomats in response to US sanctions against Russia:
Putin said he would not take immediate action, and would instead attempt to rebuild relations with the US after the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump.
We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not send anyone away. We will not prohibit their families and children to use for their usual vacation spots in the New Year’s holidays.
Putin did reserve Russia’s right to respond to Obama’s latest sanctions against Russia:
Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policies carried out by the administration of President Trump.
ABC News now reports that Russia’s foreign ministry also denied the Anglo-American School of Moscow closure. The school, however, is on a three-week holiday break. And now Politico reports that Russia accuses Western Media of spreading fake news:
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied authorities closed an American school in Moscow in retaliation for U.S. sanctions, and accused Western media of spreading fake news. “Apparently, the White House has totally lost it and is starting to invent sanctions against their own children,” Zakharova said in a post on Facebook. “It is a lie.”
A common thread running through much of the reporting on the Obama’s new sanctions is the conclusion that by acting against Russia, President Obama was trying to put his successor in a tough political spot. Will Putin’s response dispel or confirm that analysis?