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Putin Gets Revenge On Obama For Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently wasted no time reacting to President Barack Obama's sanctions against his country by closing a school used by Americans in Russia, according to a report by CNN.

Russian authorities, however, denied the closing, saying "the White House has completely lost its senses and begun inventing sanctions against its own children."

The dispute comes a day after Obama booted 35 Russians -- variously described as diplomatic staff or Russian intelligence officers -- from the United States and shut down two Russian properties in New York and Maryland.

"U.S. officials ‘anonymously informed’ their media that Russia closed the Anglo-American School in Moscow as a retaliatory measure," Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry, wrote on Facebook. "That’s a lie."

The Anglo-American School in Moscow is a K-12 educational institution that serves about 1,250 students from 60 countries, including the children of American, Canadian and British diplomats.

The school is currently on winter break, according to its website, and its Facebook page includes a message saying students will return to class as usual following the New Year recess, the Washington Post reported.

Zakharova scolded U.S. media for allegedly getting the story wrong.

“You should not write that ‘Moscow denied…. Or Moscow will not.…' " she wrote. “Write as it is: 'The CNN TV channel and other Western media have again spread false information citing official American sources.’”

She also took a shot at Obama, who has only 21 days left in office before President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

“Normally, I do not ask Santa Claus for anything," Zakharova wrote. "This year, I'm asking him to get rid of someone."

That followed a Dec. 29 tweet by Russia's U.K. embassy, which featured an image of a duck with the capital letters "LAME" written in a large font across it.

"President Obama expels 35 [Russian] diplomats in Cold War deja vu," the tweet reads. "As everybody, [including] the [American] people, will be glad to see the end of this hapless" administration."

As of mid-afternoon on Dec. 30, CNN had not responded to Russia's accusations that the story about the Anglo-American School was false, nor did it acknowledge the accusations in its original story.

Obama said he was compelled to take action against Russia because he believes Russian hackers, working at the behest of their government, interfered with the U.S. election by compromising the email accounts of several top Democratic officials, including Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.

"Russia's cyberactivities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in U.S. democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the U.S. government," a White House statement said. "These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

The emails contained revelations that were embarrassing and harmful to the Democrats and their 2016 campaigns, both nationally and in down-ballot races, where they lost seats to Republican rivals.

The emails revealed collusion between the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and reporters from several press outlets. DNC interim chairwoman Donna Brazile -- who was also a CNN contributor -- found herself in hot water after providing debate questions to Clinton ahead of time during her CNN-sponsored debate with fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders. Brazile was later fired from CNN over the controversy.

The messages also detailed Clinton staffers allegedly instructing underlings to get rid of copies of emails after the existence of Clinton's private, unsecured email server was first reported by the New York Times.

A day after the Times report, Podesta wrote to another staffer, telling "we are going to have to dump all those emails so better [to] do it sooner than later," according to The Hill.

On Dec. 30, Putin said he wouldn't respond to Obama's sanctions in kind, calling the president's actions "irresponsible diplomacy" while saying Russia will wait until Trump is sworn in as president.

"Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations," a Kremlin statement said, "will be built on the basis of the policies carried out by the administration of President Trump."

Sources: The Hill (2), CNN (2), Washington Post, TASS Russian News Agency / Photo credit: Marina Lysteva/Wikimedia Commons

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