Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to play the cyber-statesman Friday, ruling out tit-for-tat expulsions of American diplomats in response to U.S. financial sanctions for alleged election hacking.
“We won’t descend to [that] level of irresponsible, kitchen diplomacy,” he said in a statement.
It comes as questions arise about the evidence linking some of those sanctioned to the campaign hacking, allegedly by Moscow’s intelligence agencies.
The Russian Foreign Ministry formally requested the expulsion of 35 U.S. personnel after a similar number of Moscow’s envoys were given 72 hours to leave on Thursday. The American move was part of a sweeping response to alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election campaign that also hit the Kremlin’s civilian and military foreign intelligence agencies — plus four senior officials and three cyber contractors — with newly authorized financial sanctions.
But in a shock move Friday, Putin rejected his own foreign minister’s advice, saying he would wait to resolve the issue with incoming