United States to impose sanctions on Russian Federation over attack on Skripals

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Faced with a new round of US -sanctions over alleged chemical weapons use, Russia denounced the move as an "illegal" gesture that defied attempts by President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin aimed at improving relations during a recent summit.

"Today's step is an important but moderate set of sanctions", said Peter Harrell, a sanctions official in the Obama administration, adding that further sanctions expected in three months "could be among the most severe yet, but could also be quite modest, depending on where the Trump administration wants to go".

"In our view, these and earlier restrictions are absolutely unlawful and don't conform to worldwide law", Peskov said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova leading a briefing, February 10, 2016.

A British government spokesman welcomed Washington's announcement, saying: "The strong global response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russian Federation that its provocative, reckless behaviour will not go unchallenged".

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The new sanctions will take effect on or around 22 August.

Military forces work on a van in Winterslow, England, on March 12, 2018, as investigations continue into the nerve-agent poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Sturgess, 44, died a week after the exposure.

Unless Russia agrees within 90 days to stop all use of chemical weapons and permit inspections to confirm their elimination, the law requires the United States to choose from a range of additional measures, including withdrawal of US support for global loans and USA bank loans, prohibition of landing rights for Russian airlines, and suspension of diplomatic relations.

The government of the United Kingdom, where the Skripal poisoning occurred, applauded the Trump administration for imposing more sanctions on Russian Federation.

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The White House did not immediately send out a statement on the sanctions.

Her extraordinary comments come after the US State Department unveiled the sanctions on Wednesday night in a move that could imperil relations between Moscow and Washington.

But initial triumphalism swiftly turned sour as anger over what some US lawmakers saw as an over deferential performance by Trump and his failure to confront Putin over Moscow's alleged meddling in USA politics galvanized a new sanctions push.

"We consider categorically unacceptable the linking of new restrictions, which we as before consider illegal, to the case in Salisbury", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on August 9. He insisted that Russia's financial system is strong enough to withstand shocks from the new penalties. That could include the USA withdrawing support for global loans and US bank loans, blocking Russian airlines from landing in the USA, and suspending diplomatic relations.

Several members of Congress had expressed concern that the Trump administration was dragging its feet on the determination and had missed a deadline to publish its findings.

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Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said the USA is behaving like a "police state, threatening and torturing a suspect to get evidence". (Authorities believe a British woman's death was caused by accidental exposure to the nerve agent).