United States hits Russian Federation with sanctions in poison claim

Galtero Lara
Agosto 10, 2018

The U.S. had joined Britain in condemning Russia for the Skripal poisoning and joined with European nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response, but it had yet to make the formal determination that the Russian government had "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals".

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

Russia is already under USA sanctions for its 2014 invasion of Crimea, and the Trump administration expelled 60 Russians from the US and shuttered the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the failed assassination attempt.

Almost two weeks after the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asked why the administration was AWOL on Russia's use of a deadly nerve agent on British soil, and less than a week after a group of senators introduced a package of crushing sanctions on the Kremlin, the State Department announced that mandatory sanctions for chemical weapons use will go into effect.

With those possible exemptions in mind, the State Department estimated the value of the new sanctions could "reach potentially hundreds of millions of dollars".

Instead, he said there were also delays in triggering the same type of USA sanctions after the two most recent chemical or biological attacks, one in Sryia by the Assad regime and another perpetrated by North Korea.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (front) and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attend a session of the Council of Heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Sochi on 11 October 2017.

The Trump administration has also already responded to the nerve agent poisonings.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, later died in hospital.

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A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation struck a cautious tone and said Moscow remained committed to building "constructive relations with the U.S." and wouldn't draft countermeasures before learning the full details. That could include the US withdrawing support for worldwide loans and USA bank loans, blocking Russian airlines from landing in the US, and suspending diplomatic relations.

One of the hardest hit was Aeroflot, the Russian state airline, which could lose its ability to fly to the United States as a possible outcome of the new sanctions.

Members of the emergency services wearing protective clothing work near the bench where former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned in Salisbury, Britain, March 13, 2018.

The new sanctions come in two tranches.

Prices of Russia's government bonds, known as OFZs, also inched higher from Thursday lows.

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.

A senior State Department official estimated the sanctions could affect hundreds of millions of dollars in trade with Russian Federation.

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.

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