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Russian foreign minister proposes expelling US diplomats

Sergey Lavrov talking about the sanctions on Russian state TV. Credit: RTV

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has proposed a tit-for-tat move against the US, after it sanctioned Russia over what he says are baseless accusations of interference in the US elections.

Lavrov has proposed that President Vladimir Putin expel 31 employees of the US embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US consulate in St Petersburg.

He also suggested that Putin bar US diplomats from using their summer retreat and a warehouse in Moscow.

Yesterday US administration without presenting any evidence or proof, announced the new wave of sanctions against the Russian Federation.

We cannot leave such steps unanswered, reciprocity is a law of diplomacy and international affairs, therefore Russian foreign ministry together with our colleagues from other agencies, proposed the president of the Russian Federation to declare 31 staff members of the US embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US Consulate General in St Petersburg persona non grata.

Besides we offered to ban Americans from using their country house in Serebryany Bor and a warehouse on Dorozhnaya street.

– Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

The call comes after President Obama imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their alleged involvement in hacking US political groups in the run-up to the election.

He also ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the US within 72 hours, and closed two facilities used by the Russians.

A Kremlin spokesperson said that it is up to President Putin to draft any retaliatory measures.


Russia's prime minister: Obama acting 'regrettably'

Russia's Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin. Credit: AP

Russia's Prime Minister has said it is "regrettable" that the Obama administration is ending its term in office "in an anti-Russian agony".

Dimitry Medvedev's comments came after the US expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the country and gave them 72 hours to leave.

Two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland have also been closed down and individuals sanctioned in response to alleged cyber hacking of the US election and harassment of American diplomats in Moscow.

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Dozens of IS fighters killed in Russian and Turkish strikes

The al Bab area, seen before the most recent attacks, has been targeted repeatedly by rebels supported by Turkish troops. Credit: Reuters

Dozens of Islamic State fighters have been killed in attacks by Russian and Turkish warplanes in northern Syria over the past 24 hours, the Turkish armed forces have announced.

Islamic State fighters, along with the Kurdish YPG, are not observing the ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey.

The Turkish military said 12 jihadists were killed in three Russian air strikes in the area of al Bab and south of the town while Turkish air strikes destroyed 17 IS targets and killed 26 militants in al Bab and Daglabash.

The military confirmed one Turkish soldier was killed and five wounded in an Islamic State attack to the south of al Azrak.

Syrian school hit by airstrike hours before ceasefire began

The bombs kept falling just hours before a ceasefire between Syria's pro-government forces and the rebel forces came into effect.

Forty people were thought to have died in an airstrike on a school in the outskirts of Damascus.

ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler reports on the late bloodshed and the hopes that the nationwide truce can finally help bring peace to the war-torn country.

Rebel and Syrian forces clash two hours into ceasefire

A ceasefire took effect across Syria at midnight local time as the war-torn country attempts to find peace.

Clashes between rebels and Syrian government forces have been reported within two hours of a nationwide ceasefire taking effect.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said rebels violated the deal backed by Russia and Turkey and had taken over a position in Hama province.

A spokesman for the Jaish al-Nasr rebel group accused government forces of violating the truce by shelling areas in two villages in Idlib province, which borders Hama.

Gunfire was earlier reported in the southern Syrian provinces of Deraa and Quneitra.


Gunfire reported in two provinces after Syria ceasefire

A school in Damascus was hit by an airstrike before the ceasefire came into effect at midnight local time. Credit: RTV

Gunfire has been reported shortly after a ceasefire deal took effect at midnight (10pm GMT), Syrian activists have said.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said shooting was heard in the southern Syrian provinces of Deraa and Quneitra.

The Observatory said there were no reports of casualties, adding that in other areas of Syria warring sides appeared to have ceased firing.

Trump to meet intelligence leaders over Russian expulsions

Donald Trump has previously dismissed claims Russian cyber-hackers had interfered with the US election process. Credit: Reuters

US President-elect Donald Trump has said he will meet with intelligence leaders next week to get the "facts of the situation" that led the Obama administration to expel 35 Russian diplomats in the wake of cyber attacks related to the US election.

The statement from Mr Trump urged America to "move on to bigger and better things" but confirmed he would meet security officials "in the interest of our country and its great people".

It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.

– President-elect Donald Trump

The Kremlin has warned the expulsion may lead to retaliatory actions.

Mr Trump has previously dismissed as "ridiculous" claims Russian cyber-hackers had interfered with the US election process.

New Syria ceasefire deal comes into effect

The Syrian ceasefire came into effect at midnight local time Credit: Reuters

A new ceasefire brokered in Syria by Russia and Turkey has come into effect.

The deal, where Turkey and Russia will act as guarantors, became effective from midnight local time.

Peace talks between President Bashar al-Assad's government and rebel forces in Syria are set to take place next year in Kazakhstan.

Assad was reported by the Kremlin on Thursday to be "committed" to the truce.

Russia 'regrets' US decision to expel diplomats

Russia said it 'regrets' the US step to expel 35 of its diplomats Credit: Reuters

Russia has said it regrets the US's move to expel 35 of its diplomats and impose sanctions on individuals in response to alleged hacking and harassment.

A Kremlin spokesman described the step as a sign of Washington's "aggressive foreign policy."

Moscow warned that its own retaliations would be "adequate," adding that President Vladimir Putin would decide how to respond.

Russia also labelled the move by Barack Obama "unlawful" and questioned the efficiency of the latest tactic.

The spokesperson said the sanctions had the potential to damage diplomatic relations between the two countries, adding that he was unsure if incoming President Donald Trump would approve of such a move.

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