According to a Friday report from Vice, the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats from the United States is something of a sore spot for Donald Trump, who, aides say, absolutely does not want to talk about it.
The United States joined more than two dozen countries in kicking out Russian officials after the UK nerve agent poisoning carried out by Russian spies on March 4, which global intelligence communities all agreed was a direct order from the Kremlin, as opposed to any sort of isolated incident.
Vladimir Putin has decried the investigation that led to the expulsion of his diplomats, calling it “rushed” and accusing western states of simply trying to make Russia look bad before the World Cup soccer tournament, which is being held in 11 host cities in Russia this year, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, and even the site of the Winter Olympics fiasco in 2014, Sochi.
In response to the diplomatic maneuvering, Putin has himself expelled diplomats from a number of countries around the world, including more than 100 diplomats and journalists from the United States.
But news surrounding American-Russian relations — as it is received in the US — largely centers on the American perception of what is happening. A unique insight can be had by looking at Russian state television, which we have reported on before here at Opposition Report. And the news being reported over the last two days looks very different through the lens of what Russian officials are saying about their interactions with the Trump administration:
#Russia‘s state TV reports that an unnamed high-level White House source quietly told the Russians that the number of Russian diplomats in the U.S. is not being cut (they can send 60 other diplomats to replace the ones being expelled). They quote the source: “The doors are open.” pic.twitter.com/1GgaGHUdQD
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) March 29, 2018
The video that Julia Davis links to is, unfortunately, in Russian, although it is available here. The summary, however, is that Trump officials have quietly told Russia that, although 60 diplomats were expelled from the country, it was in fact and in effect symbolic — that Russia will be more than welcome to send 60 more to take their places.
According to NBC News, Trump told his aides all the way back in December not to speak publicly or positively about decisions from this White House that negatively affect Russia, including policy changes toward Ukraine, sanctions implementation, or in this case, the “fake” expulsion of diplomats.
We can help but wonder what Trump could have to lose by sounding negative toward the Kremlin. Probably nothing, right?
Better yet, why don’t we let Robert Mueller sort it out?
Featured image via Opposition Report Gallery