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Russia-US row: Trump praises Putin amid hacking expulsions

US President-elect Donald Trump has praised Vladimir Putin after the Russian president ruled out a tit-for-tat response to the expulsion of diplomats in a row over hacking.

Mr Trump tweeted: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”

Mr Putin had earlier said Russia would not stoop to “irresponsible diplomacy”.

Washington expelled 35 diplomats over hacking related to the US election. Moscow denies any involvement.

Mr Trump emphasised his statement on the row by pinning his tweet to the top of his account.

It was unclear exactly what he was referring to with the term “delay”.

He has previously dismissed the hacking claims as “ridiculous” and said that Americans should “get on with our lives” when asked about the possibility of sanctions.

However, speaking before Mr Putin’s decision, Mr Trump did say he would meet US intelligence chiefs next week to be “updated on the facts of this situation”.

His senior aide Kellyanne Conway said on Thursday: “Even those who are sympathetic to President Obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this today was to quote ‘box in’ President-elect Trump.

“That would be very unfortunate if politics were the motivating factor here. We can’t help but think that’s often true.”