Putin says Russia will not expel US diplomats
By Yan Qiong

2016-12-30 22:35 GMT+8

5797km to Beijing

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he will not expel any US diplomats from the country. 
Putin said in a statement that Russia will not create problems for American diplomats. 
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had earlier requested that Putin remove 35 American diplomats in Russia, in a tit-for-tat response to a similar move by Washington over hacking allegations. 
US President Barack Obama and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands ahead of a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on September 28, 2015. /CFP Photo
"We have proposed that the Russian President (Vladimir Putin) declare 31 employees of the US Embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US Consulate General in St. Petersburg persona non grata," Lavrov said in a statement aired by Russia 24 TV.
It was also suggested that Americans be banned from using their dacha in Serebryano Bor and a warehouse in southern Moscow, he said.
On Thursday, the US State Department ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying and closed two compounds belonging to the Russian Embassy in response to Russia's alleged interference in the US presidential election and to "a pattern of harassment of our diplomats overseas."
Outgoing US President Barack Obama also imposed sanctions on two major Russian intelligence services -- the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and the Federal Security Service, four individual officers of the GRU and three companies that allegedly provided material support for hacking operations aimed to interfere in the US presidential election.
(Story with input from Xinhua)