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Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the State Council meeting on ecology issues at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. (Natalia Kolesnikova/ Pool photo via AP)

Putin says Russia could retaliate against the US for hacking sanctions, but it won't


We reserve the right to retaliate, but we will not sink to the level of this irresponsible diplomacy.

UPDATE 7:54 a.m. EST: Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country won't retaliate following U.S. sanctions, despite a proposal from his foreign minister to expel 35 U.S. diplomats from Russia. President Obama's measures were “designed to provoke a reaction, but Russia would not take the bait," Putin said, according to state-run broadcaster RT. 

That didn't take long. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proposed Friday that his country expel 35 U.S. diplomats from Russia in return for unprecedented sanctions announced by the White House. 

Describing Russia's alleged interference in the November elections as "Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities," the administration sanctioned four Russian individuals and five Russian entities. It also expelled 35 Russian officials working in the United States, giving them 72 hours to leave the country. 

Russia's cyberactivities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, [and] sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process.
White House statement
Of course we cannot leave such mischievous tricks without a response. Reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and of international relations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

In a televised broadcast Friday, Lavrov vowed retaliation. He called on President Vladimir Putin to expel 35 diplomats and ban all of the U.S. diplomatic staff from using a warehouse in Moscow, as well as an embassy country house on the outskirts of the Russian capital. 

If Trump wants to reverse Russia sanctions, he'll get pushback from his own party

For the past month, President-elect Donald Trump has shrugged off the intelligence community's assessment that Russia was behind hacking during the election. 

Trump to be 'updated on the facts'

In a statement Thursday, Trump said that while the country needs to "move on to bigger and better things," he would meet with intelligence officials "to be updated on the facts." 

His skepticism over Russian interference in the election has put him at odds with members of his own party. Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday "Russia does not share America's interests." Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called on Trump to impose even tougher sanctions once in office. 

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