Obama should have kicked out Putin's diplomats earlier, says former Russia ambassador

'It's not surprising that the US is expelling Russian diplomats, it could have been done earlier', says former ambassador

Barack Obama said the expulsion of Russian diplomats is a "necessary and appropriate response" to alleged interference in the US presidential vote

Friday, December 30, 2016

A former British ambassador to Russia has said Barack Obama is justified in expelling Russian diplomats - but he should have done it earlier.

The US is to expel 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian compounds, citing "harassment" of American diplomats and alleged interference in the recent presidential election.

Sir Andrew Wood, now an associate fellow at Chatham House, told James Max: “If anything it’s rather surprising that it happened late, not that it’s happening.

“I think it sends a national warning to the Russians that there’s a limit to the amount of interference they can do in the United States policies."

Turning to the allegations of Russian involvement in the US election, Wood said “you can almost take it for granted that any denial of anything by the Russians is close to proof that it happened."

On Russia's long-term policy, he said: “I don’t think while Putin is in charge that Russian relationships with the rest of the world are going to change. Anybody who’s been in power for as long as he has…is bound to get a little bit peculiar in some ways."

Listen to the full interview above