07 Nov 2018
US eyes more Russia sanctions over Britain nerve attack
The United States has said that it was preparing fresh sanctions against Moscow over the attempted assassination of a former spy in Britain after a previous round sowed chaos on Russian markets.
"We intend to proceed in accordance with the terms of the (Chemical and Biological Weapons) Act, which directs the implementation of additional sanctions," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said yesterday.
Russia violated US Law, should be punished: US State Department
Three months after the United States declared that Russia violated a US law that seeks the elimination of chemical and biological weapons, the State Department told Congress in a legally-mandated follow-up that Moscow had not come into compliance.
Nauert said the State Department was in discussions with Congress, which has led the push to punish Russia, to determine the exact measures.
Britain Nerve attack: What happened and which weapon was used?
British investigators said Russian operatives on March 4 tried to kill Sergei Skripal, a former intelligence officer and double agent, and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the English city of Salisbury.
The attack involved Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The two Russians survived but a third person died after exposure to the nerve agent.
Russian PM warns 'economic war' on further imposition of sanctions
Under the US law, the State Department must slap further sanctions three months after its initial determination unless a country proves it has reversed course on chemical and biological weapons.
Russia denied involvement in the Salisbury attacks and has promised reciprocal measures to all US sanctions.
PM Dmitry Medvedev warned in August that further imposition of sanctions would constitute a "declaration of economic war".
Trump government needs to act quickly on sanctions: Royce
Lawmakers across the political spectrum have urged a strong response to Russia, despite President Donald Trump's avowed affinity for his counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Representative Ed Royce, a Republican and outgoing Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Trump administration needs to act quickly on new sanctions, adding it's not surprising that Putin refuses to swear off the future use of nerve agents.
First round of sanctions banned national security products to Russia
"It is unacceptable that the administration lacks a plan, or even a timeline, for action on the second round of mandatory sanctions required by US law," Ed Royce further added.
The first round of sanctions banned exports to Russia of arms and other products with national security applications and also froze any US government credit guarantees to Russia.
Effect over exports
August announcement on sanctions sent Russian stocks plunging
The sanctions announcement in August sent Russian stocks plunging and the ruble fell to its lowest level against the dollar in nearly two years.
The drop came even though Russia, the major rival to the US as an arms exporter, does not buy US weapons.
Russia had already been under sanctions since 2014 over its military meddling in Ukraine.