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President-elect Donald Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday for his decision not to respond to sanctions levied by US President Barack Obama’s administration this week in retaliation for suspected election-related hacking.
“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump tweeted.
The president-elect pinned the tweet to the top of his Twitter page. The message was also retweeted by the Russian Embassy in the US.
“Although we have the right to retaliate,” Putin said, Russia would instead “plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump administration.”
Putin’s move to stay silent was characterized by Michael Kofman, a global fellow at the Wilson Center who specializes in Russian and Eurasian affairs, as “the most damaging and embarrassing answer [the US] could receive.”
Trump has been reluctant to blame election-related hacking on Russia, despite US intelligence agencies saying the country was behind the cyberattacks.
Instead, the president-elect has repeatedly suggested he would like the US to have a warmer relationship with Russia and work together on issues like combatting terrorism.