Trump refuses to criticize Russian expulsion of U.S. diplomats

Trump refuses to criticize Russian expulsion of U.S. diplomats”

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017.

"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russian Federation, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: All what you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened", Putin said during his speech.

Thursday's report echoes another explosive threat made by the president after he tweeted in January that his "nuclear button" was "much bigger & more powerful" than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's.

The only response from the White House was a tepid statement saying the move was expected.

Despite Trump's reported threats to Putin, his public comments on Russian Federation have been decidedly muted, according to officials, in part because he insists that he wants to maintain a reasonably cordial relationship with the Kremlin.

But the call reflects growing tensions between the two countries.

On Monday, in response to the nerve attack in England that killed a British spy, Trump expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the US and closed a base in Washington state.

Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an identical number of American diplomats to leave Russia, and the USA consulate in St. Petersburg to be shuttered.

During his national state of the union speech in March, Putin touted Russia's new generation of "invincible" nuclear weapons that could not be intercepted.

Behind the scenes, President Donald Trump is taking a bit of a tougher stance on Russian Federation, facing off with President Vladimir Putin, according to sources who spoke with NBC News. He's also told aides to minimize publicity around Russian policy moves, anxious that the news might antagonize his counterpart, NBC reported.

"I have to face difficulties in setting up contacts with US high-ranking officials".

But Trump himself has also long touted American military might and said during his State of the Union address that Congress must "modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal" to keep up with Russian Federation.

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