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Trump Plans Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over UK Attack

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U.S. President Donald Trump (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

The National Security Council’s recommendation to Trump comes after a high-level meeting at the White House on Wednesday in which the council drew up a range of options to take action against Russia….reports Asian Lite News

U.S. President Donald Trump (Xinhua/Ting Shen) (swt)

US President Donald Trump is weighing on a recommendation from his National Security Council to expel a group of Russian diplomats from Washington in response to the poisonings of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain, the media reported.

It is believed that the US had been waiting to see what members of the European Council would do, an informed source told media on Saturday.

On Friday, 10 European countries announced they would follow Britain’s lead by also expelling Russian diplomats.

Germany, France, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Czech, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Ireland and several others will “likely” expel the Russians on Monday, a senior foreign diplomat told CNN.

The UK ordered 23 Russian diplomats back to Moscow last week after the country concluded that Russia was responsible for the poisonings.

The National Security Council’s recommendation to Trump comes after a high-level meeting at the White House on Wednesday in which the council drew up a range of options to take action against Russia, according to State Department officials.

The UK had earlier ordered 23 Russian diplomats back to Moscow last week after the country concluded that Russia was responsible for the poisonings. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan/IANS)

Members of the National Security Council and State Department are speaking with their European counterparts to gauge how many they are planning to expel, according to the source.

Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, a State Department official told CNN the move would be considered a “very serious step”, especially given the last round of tit-for-tat expulsions that have left both Russia and the US with significantly smaller diplomatic forces in each other’s countries.

Russia and the UK have been embroiled in a bitter diplomatic fight since Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, 33-year-old Yulia Skripal, were poisoned in the English cathedral city of Salisbury on March 4.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May called the incident “a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil”.

May has accused Russia of orchestrating the attack but Russian officials have repeatedly denied carrying out the poisoning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the accusations as “delirium”.