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Trump praises Putin for 'great move' not responding to Russia sanctions: 'I always knew he was very smart!'

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 31/12/2016 Oliver Darcy

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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 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 then pinned the tweet to the top of his Twitter page. The message was also retweeted by the Russian Embassy in the US.

Putin had said earlier the Kremlin would "not resort to irresponsible 'kitchen' diplomacy" in response to new sanctions issued by Obama and the ejection of 35 Russian diplomats from 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 characterised by Michael Kofman, a global fellow at the Wilson Center who specialises in Russian and Eurasian affairs, as "the most damaging and embarrassing answer [the US] could receive."

Trump has been reluctant to blame the election-related hacking on Russia, despite US intelligence agencies placing blame on the country for 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.

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