In an effort to persuade President Trump to change his stance on Russia, some top administration in his administration are pushing for a more aggressive posture in the wake of Moscow’s alleged involvement in the March 4 poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, the New York Times wrote.
White House aides, quoted by the newspaper, said that while the president has become increasingly convinced that Russia is dangerous, he has still refused to embrace a tougher public posture and remains uncertain how far to authorize his administration to go.
Besides the US and the UK, 16 EU countries, as well as Canada, Albania, Norway, Ukraine, Macedonia and Australia said they were expelling over 150 Russian diplomats in connection with Moscow's purported involvement in the nerve agent attack in the UK.
In a tit-for-tat move, Russia is expelling an equal number of Western diplomats.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious in Salisbury on March 4 after being exposed to what British experts claim was the A234 nerve agent.
Russia has strongly denied any connection to the Skripal case and has offered assistance in the ongoing investigation.