United States hits Russian Federation with sanctions over nerve agent attack in Britain

U.S. orders new sanctions against Russia over chemical attack in Britain

Yulia Skripal

Moscow's strategy of trying to improve battered U.S. -Russia ties by attempting to build bridges with President Donald Trump is backfiring after U.S. lawmakers launched a new sanctions drive last week because they fear Trump is too soft on Russian Federation.

While domestic assets have suffered as sanctions damage sentiment, Russian Federation is less vulnerable to outflows of foreign capital than its embattled peers such as Turkey.

The US has been imposing ever-increasing sanctions against Russian Federation in recent years, with the Trump Administration passing new ones every few weeks.

"The Russian side will work on developing retaliatory measures", ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists.

This week, Britain's the Guardian newspaper reported London is preparing to ask Moscow to extradite two Russian citizens suspected of carrying out the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Sanctions waivers were in place for certain key sectors, including space flight activities and commercial aviation safety, the official said.

United Kingdom foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked the U.S. for its intervention, saying in a tweet that nerve agents and other "horrific" weapons must not become a new norm, and "states like Russian Federation that use or condone their use need to know there is a price to pay".

Earlier this week, the USA announced a new round of sanctions against Russian Federation.

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

In a statement Thursday, a Russian official said the U.S.is making "unacceptable demands" of Moscow and urged the cancellation of the sanctions.

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Another round of sanctions will be triggered under the law if Russian Federation fails to meet a series of criteria, including demonstrating that it is no longer using chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law or against its own citizens.

Instead of starting to look for ways to improve relations as was discussed during the Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki in July, "the US administration spares no efforts to complicate the situation even more", she said.

Russian Federation continues to deny any involvement in the attack, calling the impending sanctions "draconian".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said states that "use or condone" chemical weapons "need to know there is a price to pay", adding: "Thank you U.S. for standing firm with us on this".

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack, and Russia's embassy in Washington said in a statement that Washington's findings against it in the case were not backed by evidence.

The US is trying to play up this "anti-Russian topic as a way to continue demonizing Russia" and make it appear that it is not fulfilling its worldwide obligations, Zakharova said.

The United Kingdom blamed Russia for the attack, resulting in the expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from the U.K., U.S. and other allies.

"And it would be necessary, it would be needed to react to this war economically, politically, or, if needed, by other means".

"It's critical that we use every tool at our disposal to confront Putin's use of chemical weapons, as well as his efforts to undermine our democracy", the Republican from California said.

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