Russian leader deteriorations to retaliate after US expelled 35 Russian envoys, telling further action will depend on Trumps policies

Vladimir Putin has refused to engage in tit-for-tat diplomacy after the US expelled 35 Russian envoys amid a row over cyber-hacking.

Just hours after the Russian foreign minster said he was recommending a symmetrical answer, Putin said his country had every right to make such a move but that he would not drop to this level of irresponsible diplomacy.

He said his government would instead wait to see how relations developed under the incoming chairperson, Donald Trump, who later described the Russian leader in a tweet as very smart.

We will construct further steps to help resurrect Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of Trump will pursue, the Russian president said in a statement on the Kremlins website.

Putin, mindful that Trump will be in the White House in only three weeks, went on in an almost teasing way to wish Barack Obama and his family, and Trump and the American people a happy new year. He invited all the children of American envoys accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas celebrations in the Kremlin.

His stance appeared to be warmly welcomed by the president-elect.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

Great move on delay( by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!

December 30, 2016

Putins pointedly magnanimous intervention came after a day in which Russian officials launched increasingly angry invective at Barack Obama and his administration.

On Thursday, the outgoing US administration had announced a package of measures targeting Russia in reprisal for cyber-attacks US intelligence agencies believe were directed by Moscow to help Trump get elected. Russian officials have repeatedly denied the claims.

Sanctions were placed on Russias GRU and FSB intelligence services, and individuals and companies linked to them, while 35 diplomats the US believes are engaging in espionage were given 72 hours to leave the country.

Maria Zakharova, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, launched a bite attack on the outgoing US administration, writing on Facebook: The people who have spent eight years in the White House are not an administration they are a group of foreign policy losers, embittered and shortsighted. Today, Obama officially demonstrated this.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian “ministers “, wrote on Facebook: It is regrettable that the Obama administration, which started out by restoring our ties, is objective its term in an anti-Russia agony. RIP. The Russian embassy in London tweeted a picture of a duck with the word lame written on it, and called the Obama administration hapless.

But Putins response was amazingly measured. He told any Russian reprisal would be deferred in the hope that bilateral relations improve when Trump takes office in January.

Diplomatic expulsions are normally met with reciprocal action, and the stage seemed defined for a strong Russian answer. In 2001, the George W Bush administration expelled 51 Russian envoys it told were snoops. Russia responded by telling 50 US diplomats to leave Russia.

Read more: www.theguardian.com