Several events have taken place over the last few days that were expected to challenge Russian-U.S. relations.
U.S. intelligence services believe Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential elections to benefit Donald Trump’s campaign. The U.S. believes Russia ordered cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Hillary Clinton’s campaign and other political organizations.
On Thursday, December 29th, the Obama administration announced they would expel 35 Russian diplomats and close 2 Russian compounds, 1 in Maryland and the other in New York. The diplomats and their families were given 72 hours to leave the country.
On Friday, December 30th in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recommended expelling 35 U.S. diplomats and closing 2 American facilities in return.
Later that evening, President Vladimir Putin decided not to retaliate against the Obama administration. Due to Putin’s improved relationship with president-elect Donald Trump, he decided not to eject 35 diplomats or close any diplomatic facilities.
Instead, they will wait for Trump’s inauguration before taking any further action. Putin also invited all children of American diplomats to participate in the traditional New Year and Russian Orthodox Christmas parties at the Kremlin.