Russian officials tell Putin to eject 35 US diplomats in response to Obama

Putin has been urged to expel 35 US diplomats in a tat-for-tat retaliation to US measures announced earlier today

Vladimir Putin (R) has been heavily criticised in the US for his hawkish foreign policy

Friday, December 30, 2016

Russia's foreign ministry has proposed the expulsion of 35 U.S diplomats as a quid pro quo retaliation to Barack Obama's decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats, according to Sky.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has also suggested that allegations of Russian interference in the recent US presidential election, cited as a reason for Obama's mass expulsion, are "baseless."

News of Obama's intention to expel the diplomats was announced earlier today. The US has also proposed the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds.

American officials claim the decision was prompted by Russia's involvement in the presidential run-off, as well as the "harassment" of American diplomats in Moscow.

Tensions between America and Russia have been rising in recent months, with much of it centring on the latter's involvement in Syria, where Vladimir Putin's forces are supporting his ally Bashar al-Assad.

However it has been suggested that President-elect Donald Trump's reported admiration for Mr Putin could help to avoid an escalation of hostility between the old Cold War adversaries.