United States to sanction Russian Federation over Skripal poisoning

Lamar Ellis
August 9, 2018

Russia, which was informed of the measures Wednesday, has denied responsibility for the attack.

WASHINGTON-The U.S. announced new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday over the nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K.in March, saying Moscow violated an worldwide ban on chemical and biological weapons.

Sergei Skripal, a 66-year-old former colonel in Russian military intelligence who has lived in Britain since a 2010 spy exchange, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury and were critically ill for weeks.

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

The United States said on Wednesday said it was imposing a new round of sanctions on the Kremlin as a result.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce, who had pushed months ago for Trump to take action over Russia's use of banned weapons, applauded the move as "key to increasing pressure on Russian Federation". Authorities determined that they had been attacked with a military-grade Russian nerve agent known as Novichok.

There would, however, be exemptions for space flight activities, government space cooperation, and areas covering commercial passenger aviation safety, which would be reviewed on a case by case basis, the official added.

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Later on, London claimed that the Novichok-class toxin had been developed in Russian Federation.

In June, two British citizens living near Salisbury, where the Skripals were poisoned, also came in contact with Novichok.

London and its allies have accused Moscow of trying to kill the Skripals and says the two cases are likely linked. Under a 1991 law, he was required to act once the administration determined Russian responsibility for a chemical or biological weapons attack.

The announcement in Washington was likely to intensify troubles for the ruble, which took a hit Wednesday along with the stock market over rumors of separate new tough United States sanctions over election meddling. "It threatens the security of us all", the statement read.

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

The White House has not said whether the poisonings came up during his meeting with Putin.

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