I tweeted this earlier. Once again, Russia/Putin are behaving as the “adults in the room”.
There was also a Kremlin announcement about this. Here is a portion:
“As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.
“The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.”
My own view of all this… Barack Obama somehow had no choice but to do the “sanction thing”. I’m not sure all the details, but I feel his life is still in danger if he opposes in any way, the cabal which is still trying to “own the playground”.