Putin’s spokesman warned a decision taken by western states to expel Russian diplomats is a “mistake” following the booting out of 129 across the world – including 60 from the US.
The Kremlin branded the move “provocative” and putting the world on a “confrontational path”.
Russia now waits as Putin – who was elected to serve as president for another six years last Sunday – readies to make the “final decision” on how his nation will respond to the West.
It comes amid the deepening row between the UK and Moscow over the attempted murder of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal.
Britain is being backed by other NATO and EU powers over its claim that it is “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia using military grade nerve agent Novichok.
Russia has denied any involvement in the attack, and claimed the UK has been sensationalising the link between the Kremlin and the incident in Salisbury.