Russia Considers Retaliation For 'Categorically Unacceptable' New U.S. Sanctions

Salisbury Spy Poisoning: US Says Russia Was Behind Nerve Agent Attack In UK, And Will Impose Sanctions

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the action was aimed at punishing Russian President Vladimir Putin's government for having "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law".

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

Britain was quite happy with the expulsions back in March, and unsurprisingly was quick to endorse the new USA sanctions as a "strong global response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury".

British officials had declared that Russian Federation was to blame for the attempted poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal, a British citizen, and his daughter Yulia, in large part because of the obscure poison involved.

The U.S. announcement fueled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible effect of more U.S. sanctions on Russian assets and the ruble slid by over 1 percent on Thursday against the dollar, a day after falling toward its lowest level in almost two years.

British Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the US decision.

"I guess what it's about is the internal politics in the United States, that Donald Trump of course has been under a lot of pressure at home for talking about wanting to meet Vladimir Putin again and his policy is a reflection really of how his business operates - he says one thing one day, one thing the next, to try to keep the various factions happy".

He criticized the US decision to link the sanctions to the British nerve agent case, an incident the Kremlin has long cast as a Western plot to damage its reputation and provide a pretext for more sanctions.


Dawn Sturgess, 44, later died in hospital.

The action follows the US Treasury's imposition of sanctions in March against 19 Russian citizens and five entities for interfering in the 2016 US election - the toughest steps against Moscow since President Donald Trump took office. In early April, just before the first tough round of US sanctions in response to Russian "worldwide malign activity" was announced, the ruble stood at roughly 58 to the dollar.

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the administration had "complied with the law" and would continue to do so, but added: "We'd like to have a better relationship with the Russian government, recognizing that we have a lot of areas of mutual concern".

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 effect of the new sanctions.

A new round of sanctions that could come into force in three months could put an end to Russian crude oil and oil product exports to the United States, S&P Platts reports, citing a 1991 law treating the imports of national security-sensitive goods, including crude oil, as well as technology.

The sanctions came as an eagerly-watched contest for a previously safe Republican seat in the United States congress went to the wire, leading to speculation that voters were turning against Donald Trump and could punish the Republican Party at mid-term elections. This included siding with the Russian leader over US intelligence regarding alleged Kremlin interference in the 2016 elections that brought Trump to the White House.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, repeated its previous denial of any involvement in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in southern England this year, while playing down the importance of the sanctions. Paul's meeting with Putin will allow Trump to communicate this uncomfortable decision with some diplomatic cordiality.

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