Putin ignores Obama's sanctions for election hacking attacks

The Russian president says he won't respond in kind to expulsions and sanctions ordered by President Obama. Instead, he'll wait for Trump to assume the presidency.

Laura Hautala Former Senior Writer
Laura wrote about e-commerce and Amazon, and she occasionally covered cool science topics. Previously, she broke down cybersecurity and privacy issues for CNET readers. Laura is based in Tacoma, Washington, and was into sourdough before the pandemic.
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Laura Hautala

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in the Hall of the Order of St. George during the State Council on ecology meeting earlier this week in Moscow.

Mikhail Svetlov, Getty Images

Obama who?

That's the attitude Russian President Vladimir Putin adopted in response to US President Barack Obama's decision to expel Russian diplomats and officials Thursday. The expulsions, as well as sanctions of several Russian government agencies and private companies, were meant to chasten Russia for attempting to influence the 2016 US election with hacking attacks and information leaks.

But rather than respond with similar sanctions against the US, Putin said Friday he would wait until Donald Trump becomes the US president next month before deciding his course of action.

"While we reserve the right to take reciprocal measures, we're not going to downgrade ourselves to the level of irresponsible 'kitchen' diplomacy," Putin said in his statement. The phrase "kitchen diplomacy" in Russian refers to "quarrelsome" behavior, according to The New York Times.

With his statement, Putin indicated he plans to ignore Obama's final diplomatic moves and focus on working with the Trump administration going forward. That puts the US response to the hacking attacks squarely in the hands of the president-elect, who has maintained that there's no way to know that Russia orchestrated the hacks. Trump's statements run counter to the US intelligence community's publicly stated assessment that Russia was indeed behind the attacks.

In response to Putin's statement, Trump tweeted on Friday, "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!"

Update, 1:20 p.m. PT: Added Donald Trump's tweet in response to Putin's statement.