Trump Administration to Sanction Russia Over Chemical Weapons Attack on Sergei Skripal

Aug 10, 2018, 03:22
Trump Administration to Sanction Russia Over Chemical Weapons Attack on Sergei Skripal

"We are being threatened with further escalation of sanctions pressure", she said.

The US is trying to play up this "anti-Russian topic as a way to continue demonizing Russia" and make it appear that it is not fulfilling its worldwide obligations, Zakharova said.

The US State Department said on Wednesday it would impose new sanctions by the end of August, after determining that Moscow used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in Britain.

Russia says it is preparing "countermeasures" to what it calls "categorically unacceptable" new sanctions being imposed by the United States over Moscow's alleged poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in England with a military nerve agent.

Nauert said the sanctions will go into effect later this month.

United States airlines could be prevented from using Russian airspace and the supply of rocket engines crucial to launching new satellite cut off under measures being considered in the Kremlin as retaliation for the surprise announcement of new sanctions.

While the central bank has not replied to Reuters request for comment about implications of the rouble's drop, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has tried to dismiss concerns about Russia's vulnerability to the US sanctions. He said the new sanctions amount to "inflicting a punishment in the absence of a crime, in the tradition of lynch law".

Those slated for August are likely to include an export ban on sensitive national security technology and goods.

When asked about how the new sanctions jibe with President Trump's desire to improve relations with Russian Federation, which he made quite clear during last month's summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, a State Department official said they're perfectly aligned, as the entire Trump administration is "tough on Russian Federation".

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, accused Britain of making baseless accusations over the poisonings and suggested they were driven by domestic issues in the UK.

If Moscow violates the sanctions then it could see restrictions on flights from the Russian Aeroflot airline to the USA, sanctions on US bank loans, increased export and import restrictions, including on gas and petroleum, and potentially even a downgrade of diplomatic relations. The Russian government has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack.

Even as rumors of impending new sanctions swirled in the media, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul - a supporter of Trump's efforts to engage Russia - announced he had delivered a letter from President Trump to Putin during meetings with Russian officials in Moscow earlier this week.

If Russia does not meet three criteria - ending its use of such weapons, assuring the USA that it has no plans to use them again, and offering to let worldwide observers verify that - then there will be a second, harsher round of sanctions in 90 days. Investigators believe she found the substance in a discarded bottle and thought it was perfume.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 17, 2018, as he defends President Donald Trump and his Helsinki news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The share prices of several major Russian firms, including Aeroflot, Rusal and Sberbank, also fell several percentage points in Moscow on Thursday.

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