Monday, 10 December, 2018

United States to impose sanctions on Russian Federation over nerve attack in UK

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were attacked with novichok and found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March Image Sergei and Yulia Skripal were attacked with novichok and found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March
Ellis Copeland | 09 August, 2018, 05:40

Police officers stand on duty outside Sergei Skripal's home in Salisbury, Britain, July 19, 2018.

"The government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law", US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The sanctions would cover sensitive national-security controlled goods, a senior State Department official told reporters on a conference call, citing the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act.

She said sanctions would take effect on or around 22 August, after a 15-day Congressional notification period. The exports were previously allowed on a case-by-case basis.

The new sanctions follow criticism of President Donald Trump for his refusal to call out Putin directly for transgressions including interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Washington had already expelled dozens of Russian diplomats from the United States over the poisoning.

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.

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They were seriously ill but later made a full recovery after spending several weeks in hospital.

Russian Federation denies involvement in the attack and has accused Britain of failing to share its evidence.

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.

London and its allies have accused Moscow of trying to kill the Skripals and says the two cases are likely linked. But unless Russia agrees within 90 days to stop all use of chemical weapons and permit inspections to confirm their elimination, additionally mandated measures could cut off nearly all trade between the two countries, prohibit landing rights for Russian airlines, and lead to a suspension of diplomatic relations.

The second round of sanctions could cut far deeper, including blocking all American bank loans to Russian entities, an outright ban on United States exports to Russia, and suspension of diplomatic relations.

While criticized as too keen to strike up a friendship with Putin, Trump maintains that he's been tough on Moscow.

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