Not so diplomatic: Now Russia's foreign minister wants to expel US diplomats after Obama's sanctions

Rebecca Smith
Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for US election hacking
Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for US election hacking (Source: Getty)

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has suggested a tit-for-tat move against the US, after it announced sanctions against his country.

Lavrov now wants to expel 35 US diplomats and ban them from using a dacha and a warehouse in Moscow, according to Russian news agencies. He said 31 would be removed from the Russian embassy in Moscow, while four would go from the country's consulate in St Petersburg.

Lavrov said the sanctions came from "baseless" accusations of interference in the US elections.

But President Putin said he won't expel the diplomats and will instead consider President-elect Donald Trump's actions in deciding how to move forward.

Read more: Russian hacking is a "fact" in post-truth strategy says government minister

On Thursday, the Obama administration had ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over efforts to interfere with the US presidential election.

US intelligence services believe Russia ordered cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Hillary Clinton's campaign and other political organisations, in a move to try and swing the election in favour of the Republican candidate and now President-elect, Donald Trump.

Russia denies any involvement.

Read more: Will allegations of Russian hacking tarnish Donald Trump’s presidency?

It comes after Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted criticism on Facebook of the outgoing Obama administration, saying the President had failed to "record any achievements in the international arena" in the history of his presidency.

The UK Russian Embassy also voiced discontent with the measures on Twitter, calling the move "Cold War deja vu".

The action taken by the US:

  • 35 diplomats were declared "persona non grata" from Russia's Washington embassy and its San Francisco consulate - they were given 72 hours to leave the country with their families
  • Sanctions announced against nine entities and individuals, including two Russian intelligence agencies
  • Two compounds said to have been used by Russian intelligence services in New York and Maryland will be shut

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