Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Washington’s decision to expel Russian diplomats is an attempt to take revenge on the Kremlin for its own foreign policy failures, TASS reported.
"What happened in the world on December 29 is very symbolic. Moscow announced the truce in Syria, the long-awaited truce the diplomats, the military were trying to achieve by pooling efforts, trying to find common ground with our partners. It was so difficult, and our foreign and defense ministries really had a hard time,” Zakharova said.
"On December 29, the same day, Washington, too, made a statement - on the expulsion of Russian diplomats. This is a kind of revenge for the failure of its foreign policy. This is very symbolic and will be described in international relations textbooks,” she added.
"We often heard from the Obama administration, from representatives of the White House, of the State Department, that Moscow is on the wrong side of history. Wrong. After today’s decision, we are on the right side of history. The thing is that, unfortunately, the outgoing US administration is not even on the wrong side of history, it is just at the bottom,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman concluded.
On Thursday, Washington imposed new sanctions against Russia over the Kremlin’s alleged cyberattacks against U.S. political institutions in the lead up to the presidential election. Sanctions were applied to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Main Intelligence Agency of Russia’s General Staff (GRU), and 35 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the US by the end of the day on January 1st.
On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin expel 35 US diplomats in response to Washington’s actions. However, Putin said Russia would not stoop to "irresponsible diplomacy" by expelling US diplomats. US President-elect Donald Trump, in turn, tweeted “I always knew he [Putin] was very smart!” in response to the Russian president’s decision.