U.S. to impose new sanctions on Russian Federation for poisoning ex-spy


U.S. to impose new sanctions on Russian Federation for poisoning ex-spy

The use of chemical or biological weapons, which is a violation of worldwide law, triggers sanctions under USA law. In order to shore up the 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the draft legislation would also create an "Office of Sanctions Coordination" within the State Department to coordinate work with the Treasury.

The new sanctions, details of which were not immediately released, were to take effect following a 15-day Congressional notification period, she said. The exports were previously allowed on a case-by-case basis. When the new ban is in place, the official said, almost all export requests - including electronics and engines - will be denied.

The biggest impact from the initial sanctions are expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russian Federation, the report said.

The officials said that could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in future exports to Russian Federation.

Referring to its communications with the State Department on the issue, the embassy added: "We confirmed that we continue to strongly stand for an open and transparent investigation of the crime committed in Salisbury and for bringing the culprits to justice".

British officials have told reporters they have identified at least two suspects in the Skripal attack.

The surprise measures were announced by the State Department, which said that the Kremlin "has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals". Once that determination is made, sanctions are mandated, unless the president determines it is in the national-security interest of the United States to waive them. "This is not about different bits of the administration going in different directions". The US still wants to maintain relations with Moscow, despite the new sanctions.

Russia's embassy in the United States on Thursday called new USA sanctions draconian and said the reason for the new restrictions - allegations it poisoned a former spy and his daughter in Britain - were far-fetched. Skripal settled in Britain after a 2010 prisoner exchange.

The novichok-type nerve agent was found on the front door of Skripal's home.

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".

Mr Trump caught flak from Democrats and Republicans alike for what many saw as his unsettling embrace of Mr Putin last month at their Helsinki summit, when Mr Trump appeared to disavow his own intelligence agencies' assessment on Moscow's election interference. Yulia Skripal was discharged from the hospital in April, and her father was dischargedin May following the novichok poisoning.

Two more people - Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley - were subsequently treated for exposure to novichok after Ms Sturgess reportedly picked up a discarded perfume bottle thought to have contained the agent.



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