Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

United States imposes new sanctions on Russian Federation over nerve agent poisoning

United States imposes new sanctions on Russian Federation over nerve agent poisoning

The Trump administration announced on Wednesday that it will impose new sanctions on Russia over the nerve-agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

US officials say the order is meant to answer the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

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

Britain said it welcomed the USA response to the chemical attack in Salisbury, the sleepy English town where the Skripals were poisoned.

Another senior State Department official told reporters that the administration chose to impose a "presumption of denial" for the sale to Russian Federation of "national security sensitive" U.S. technologies that require federal government approval.

Russia's embassy in the United States on Thursday called new U.S. sanctions draconian and said the reason for the new restrictions-allegations it poisoned a former spy and his daughter in Britain-were far-fetched.

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The State Department's announcement fuelled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible impact of more sanctions on Russian assets and the rouble at one point slid by over 1 percent against the dollar, hitting a two-year low, before recouping some of its losses. If Russia does not meet three criteria - ending its use of such weapons, assuring the USA that it has no plans to use them again, and offering to let worldwide observers verify that - then there will be a second, harsher round of sanctions in 90 days.

The warning, from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, reflects Russian fears over the impact of new restrictions on its economy and assets, including the rouble which has lost almost six percent of its value this week on sanctions jitters.

British Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the USA decision.

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

The US made a similar determination in February when it found North Korea used a chemical weapon to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half brother at the airport in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.

Per BBC, US investigators have determined the country is behind the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, who were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, England.

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Moscow has been trying to improve battered US-Russia ties with mixed success.

Faced with a new round of USA -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.

A State Department official denied that the actions undermined President Trump's continued assertions that he would like to improve relations with Russian Federation.

Sanctions waivers were in place for certain key sectors, including space flight activities and commercial aviation safety, the official said. They pulled through after weeks in a hospital.

The Russian central bank said the rouble's fall to multi-month lows on news of new USA sanctions was a "natural reaction" and that it had the necessary tools to prevent any threat to financial stability.

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