The Kremlin on Friday issued a stark warning to the United States, saying it would respond in kind to the U.S. expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and other sanctions following the Russian hacking of U.S. political parties before the 2016 presidential elections.

“I cannot say now what the response will be, although, as we know, there is no alternative here to the principle of reciprocity,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a statement late Thursday evening reported by the Interfax news service.

He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would decide the exact response.

Peskov’s remarks were the culmination of a sharply-worded reaction by Russia’s establishment to the sanctions, which come at a time when Moscow is looking forward to an improvement in its ties with the U.S. at the start of the Trump administration in three weeks.

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Image courtesy of Reuters

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