Novichok attack: Russian Federation denounces 'draconian' new U.S. sanctions

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 10, 2018

The action is aimed at punishing President Vladimir Putin's government for having "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, in the British town of Salisbury in March.

The US is poised to impose sanctions on Russia in retaliation for a March nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.

Almost two weeks after the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asked why the administration was AWOL on Russia's use of a deadly nerve agent on British soil, and less than a week after a group of senators introduced a package of crushing sanctions on the Kremlin, the State Department announced that mandatory sanctions for chemical weapons use will go into effect.

She said sanctions would take effect on or around August 22.

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and a former colonel in the Russian army, said the State Department's move looked like the latest salvo in what he called a hybrid war.

Further sanctions could follow if the USA is unable to certify that Russian Federation is no longer using chemical weapons or provide "reliable assurances" that it will not do so in future.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with spokesman Dmitry Peskov, center, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi on May 18. (Authorities believe a British woman's death was caused by accidental exposure to the nerve agent). One of them, Dawn Sturgess, died eight days later.

European countries and the United States expelled 100 Russian diplomats after the attack, in the strongest action by President Donald Trump against Russia since he came to office. At the time, the United States expelled a number of Russian diplomats, that too nominally over the poisonings. What's more, we can not even say for sure what exactly and how it was used in Britain, since we don't have any information or any response to our proposal for a joint investigation with Britain into this incident, which concerns us greatly. The Russian government has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack. Yet the American leader was roundly criticized by members of both parties in Congress for what many perceived as an overly conciliatory performance at a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin leader in Helsinki last month.

The US expelled a number of Russian diplomats as part of an worldwide response to the attack, when the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were taken ill in March.

A former Defense Department official, Mark Simakovsky, said Wednesday that a second tranche would target Russian exports to the USA and theoretically could include restrictions on flights by the state airline Aeroflot as well as a downgrade of diplomatic relations. "Such a message might not go down well in Moscow", Prof Cullinane added.

The White House said Trump provided "a letter of introduction" at Paul's request, and that the president "mentioned topics of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin".

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