Russia faces US sanctions over poisoning of Skripal in UK

Russia faces US sanctions over poisoning of Skripal in UK

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WASHINGTON(TIP): The US has said it will impose fresh sanctions on Russia after determining it used nerve agent against a former Russian double agent living in the UK.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia 
were left seriously ill after being poisoned with Novichok in Salisbury 
in March, though they have now recovered.

A UK investigation blamed Russia for the attack, but the Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement.

Russia has criticized the new sanctions as “draconian”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, 
August 8, the US State Department confirmed it was implementing measures
 against Russia over the incident.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it had 
been determined that the country “has used chemical or biological 
weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or
 biological weapons against its own nationals”.

“The strong international response to 
the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an 
unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behavior 
will not go unchallenged,” a UK Foreign Office statement said.

The Russian embassy in the US hit back 
on Thursday morning, criticizing what it called “far-fetched 
accusations” from the US that Russia was behind the attack.

Russia had become “accustomed to not 
hearing any facts or evidence”, it said, adding: “We continue to 
strongly stand for an open and transparent investigation of the crime 
committed in Salisbury.”

The new sanctions will take effect on or
 around 22 August and relate to the exports of sensitive electronic 
components and other technologies.

The State Department said “more 
draconian” sanctions will follow within 90 days if Russia fails to give 
reliable assurances it will no longer use chemical weapons and allow 
on-site inspections by the United Nations.

An official said it was only the third 
time that the US had determined a country had used chemical or 
biological weapons against its own nationals.

Previous occasions were against Syria
 and against North Korea for the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the 
half-brother of leader Kim Jong-un, who died when highly toxic VX nerve 
agent was rubbed on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Are these the only US sanctions against Russia?

No. In June the US imposed sanctions on 
five Russian companies and three Russian individuals in response to 
alleged Russian cyber-attacks on the US.

All are prohibited from any transactions involving the US financial system.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said 
the measures were to counter “malicious actors” working to “increase 
Russia’s offensive cyber-capabilities”.

After pressure from Republican members 
of Congress, the State Department has determined Moscow broke 
international law by using a military grade chemical weapon on the 

While the US expelled some five dozen 
diplomats shortly after the poisoning, the administration stopped short 
of making a formal determination that Russia had broken international 

But Congress has been pushing for such a
 decision and now the state department has confirmed Russia’s actions 
contravened 1991 US legislation on the use of chemical weapons. That 
breach automatically triggers the imposition of sanctions and places 
requirements on Russia to avert further restrictions in three months’ 

Those requirements could include opening up sites in Russia for inspection – a move Moscow would probably resist.

So far President Donald Trump
 has been silent on this latest move – which could well derail his 
attempts to develop a new, warmer relationship with Vladimir Putin.

Following the incident, the British 
government said the military-grade nerve agent Novichok, of a type 
developed by Russia, had been used in the attack.

Relations between Russia and the West 
hit a new low. More than 20 countries expelled Russian envoys in 
solidarity with the UK, including the US. Washington ordered 60 
diplomats to leave and closed the Russian consulate general in Seattle.

Three months after the Salisbury attack,
 two other people fell ill at a house in Amesbury, about eight miles 
from the city. Dawn Sturgess later died while her partner, Charlie 
Rowley, spent three weeks recovering in hospital.

After tests, scientists at the UK’s military research lab, Porton Down, found the couple had also been exposed to Novichok.


Mr Rowley told ITV News he had earlier 
found a sealed bottle of perfume and given it to Ms Sturgess, who 
sprayed the substance on her wrists.


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