Outgoing national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the United States has “failed to impose sufficient costs” on Russia, adding that this has only emboldened the Kremlin even more, The Hill reported.
“We have failed to impose sufficient costs” on Russia, McMaster said at an Atlantic Council event with Baltic leaders on Tuesday. “The Kremlin’s confidence is growing,” he said. “Russia has used old and new forms of aggression to undermine our open societies.”
McMaster’s remarks are the first comments since Trump informed that he would be replacing him with former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. The NS adviser praised the administration’s way of handling of Russian aggression including its response to a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the UK last month.
“In the United States, President Trump ordered the removal of dozens of Russian intelligence officers and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. This action will also help protect our democratic institutions and processes as these Russian officers orchestrate Russia’s sustained campaign or propaganda, disinformation and political subversion,” McMaster said.
The most aggressive measures against Russia came last week when President Trump ordered the ouster of a total of 60 Russian diplomats following the UK nerve agent assault.
The President said during a press conference on Tuesday that he has been tougher on Russia than any of his predecessors, despite facing frequent criticism over his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Ideally we want to get along with Russia. Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t,” Trump said. “Probably no one has been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump.”