Putin Stunner: "We Will Not Expel Anyone; We Refuse To Sink To 'Kitchen' Diplomacy"

Vladimir the merciful?

Following this morning's reports that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would recommend to Russian President Vladimir Putin a retaliation in kind, and expel 35 American diplomats, saying that “we cannot leave such acts unanswered. Reciprocity is part of diplomatic law"  with Putin spokesman Peskov adding that "there is no doubt that Russia's adequate and mirror response will make Washington officials feel very uncomfortable as well", it was ultimately up to Putin to decide how to respond to the US.

Which he did on Friday morning, when in a stunning reversal, the Russian leader took the high road, rejected the Lavrov proposal, and in a statement posted by the Kremlin said that Russia won’t expel any Americans in retaliation to US moves, in a brutal demonstration of just how irrelevant Obama's 11th hour decision is for US-Russian relations.

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