Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul harshly criticized Friday US President Donald Trump for his remarks about Russia's recent expulsion of US diplomats, since instead of retaliating, Trump said he was grateful to the Russian leader for helping the United States save money.

On Thursday, Trump expressed his gratitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling 755 US diplomats from Russia, since the decision would help the US government save money in the salary budget.

​In a follow-up tweet, the former ambassador asked why Trump, taking into account his "admiration" for Putin, did not act in a similar manner of his counterpart by responding to Russia's move.

​In December 2016, then US President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and banned Russia from accessing two of its diplomatic compounds. The decision came as a response to Russia’s alleged interference in the US election, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.

In late July, Moscow announced that the diplomatic presence of the United States in Russia would be cut by 755 people to 455, the same number of diplomatic personnel that Russia currently has in the United States. The Kremlin said it was a response to the 2016 ouster of 35 Russian diplomats and sanctions passed by the US Congress in July.

Sputnik