US to impose sanctions on Russia over attack on Skripals

Devin Lawrence
August 10, 2018

The action is aimed at punishing President Vladimir Putin's government for having "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, in Salisbury in March.

MOSCOW-Russian officials and companies were bracing for further economic pain Thursday, as the USA decision to punish the Kremlin for an alleged nerve-agent attack in the United Kingdom diminished hopes of a bilateral thaw.

In March, two weeks after the attack, Trump signed a statement, along with British, French and German leaders, blaming Russian Federation.

The new U.S. sanctions would cover sensitive national-security controlled goods, a senior State Department official told reporters.

According to the law, it could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending national flag carrier Aeroflot's ability to fly to the United States and cutting off almost all exports and imports.

NBC, citing USA officials, said the second tranche could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending the state airline Aeroflot's ability to fly to the United States, and cutting off almost all exports and imports.

Medvedev's tough talk on August 10 came after the United States announced a new round of sanctions and USA lawmakers proposed further measures, including restrictions on the operations of several state-owned Russian banks and curbs on their use of the US dollar.

A senior Russian lawmaker denounced the sanctions as "lynch law".

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But initial triumphalism swiftly turned sour as anger over what some US lawmakers saw as an over deferential performance by Trump and his failure to confront Putin over Moscow's alleged meddling in USA politics galvanized a new sanctions push.

In a statement issued by its embassy in Washington, Russia called charges that Moscow employed chemical weapons "far fetched" - arguing the US lacked evidence, and repeating demands for a new investigation into the poisoning.

Nerve agent attack: What is Novichok? The statement anticipated the sanctions would go into effect around August 22 in line with the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

After pressure from Republican members of Congress, the state department has determined Moscow broke global law by using a military-grade chemical weapon on the Skripals.

The Trump administration's decision to impose further sanctions against Russia following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom earlier this year is "categorically unacceptable" and "illegal", according to President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The sanctions against Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation target U.S. exports of sensitive goods relating to national security.

Trump caught flak from Democrats and Republicans alike for what many saw as his unsettling embrace of Putin last month at their Helsinki summit, when Trump appeared to disavow his own intelligence agencies' assessment on Moscow's election interference. They pulled through after weeks in a hospital.

Two more people - Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley - were subsequently treated for exposure to novichok after Ms Sturgess reportedly picked up a discarded perfume bottle thought to have contained the agent.

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