US Sanctions Russia Over Claimed UK Nerve Agent Attack

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     TARGETED Sergei and Yulia Skripal were exposed to Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok

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.

PA Wire/PA Images Yulia Skripal, who was contaminated with the nerve agent Novichok along with her father Sergei Skripal.

Zakharova told reporters at a briefing that no evidence had been presented to prove Russia's blame, and that the pretext for the new round of sanctions had been made up.

The new USA sanctions would cover sensitive national-security controlled goods, a senior State Department official told reporters. "Your compliance with the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 is critical to showing Putin that we are serious about challenging his deadly acts, as well as his ongoing attacks on our democracy". 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.

"In our view, these and earlier restrictions are absolutely unlawful and don't conform to worldwide law", Peskov said. He insisted that Russia's financial system is strong enough to withstand shocks from the new penalties.

After a two-week congressional notification period, the sanctions are set to take effect on August 22, 2018.

The first set of sanctions targets certain items the U.S. exports to Russian Federation that could have military uses - so-called dual-use technologies.

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He criticised the U.S. 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.

Moscow ordered 60 American diplomats expelled in a tit-for-tat response.

The Kremlin on Thursday vowed to retaliate against "unacceptable" new USA sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain, which prompted the ruble and Russian stocks to tumble. This included siding with the Russian leader over USA intelligence regarding alleged Kremlin interference in the 2016 elections that brought Trump to the White House.

Reuters reports the new sanctions come in two tranches. The Post concluded it is likely an attempt to stave off far more punitive sanctions legislation now being considered in Congress.

Last week, a group of Democrat and Republican senators introduced a bill that would impose some of the toughest sanctions ever placed on modern Russian Federation. The Russian embassy in Washington has accused the USA of running a "sanctions assembly line".

While Russia returned to growth in 2017 after two years of recession, it pales in comparison with growth figures seen during Putin's first two terms in office from 2000 to 2008 thanks to soaring oil prices.

It remains unclear if lawmakers will succeed in passing the bill, with Congressional leaders having seemed unconvinced. Just this week, Republican Sen. No one should doubt that Putin will not keep to this approach.

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