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Russian Federation calls new USA sanctions illegal, unfriendly as rouble falls

U.S. orders new sanctions against Russia over chemical attack in Britain Yulia Skripal
Ginger Lawrence | 10 August, 2018, 11:00

The United States announced yesterday that it would impose fresh sanctions on Russia after Washington determined Moscow had used a nerve agent against former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in March.

The sanctions were imposed under the provisions of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, which mandates that once the government has determined that a country has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law or even made "substantial preparations" to do so, sanctions must be imposed.

Members of the emergency services wearing protective clothing work near the bench where former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned in Salisbury, Britain, March 13, 2018.

Russian authorities played down the importance of new USA sanctions, saying they have tools to maintain financial stability, after a new round of US penalties sent the rouble plunging to a two-year low.

The sanctions announcement coincided with reports that the White House is drafting its own executive order that would sanction foreigners involved in election interference.

Months later, two residents of a nearby town with no ties to Russian Federation were also poisoned by the deadly toxin.

They are being imposed in response to a 1991 U.S. law which requires export controls to be imposed on any country found to have used chemical weapons.

The spokesperson went on to say Russian American relations are at a record low point and the USA continues to deteriorate bilateral ties.

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Russia's delegation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on August 9 accused the West of acting as prosecutor, judge, and executioner.

MOSCOW-Russian officials and companies were bracing for further economic pain Thursday, as the US decision to punish the Kremlin for an alleged nerve-agent attack in the United Kingdom diminished hopes of a bilateral thaw. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through USA banks and markets.

The statement anticipated the sanctions would go into effect around August 22 in line with the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

He criticised the USA decision to link the sanctions to the British nerve agent case, an incident the Kremlin has long cast as a Western plot to damage its reputation and provide a pretext for more sanctions.

State Department officials told reporters on a call that the economic impact of the sanctions would be in the range of "hundreds of millions of dollars" and would target electronic devices and engines, for example.

The higher price of oil, however, has given Russia's government a large financial cushion to maintain public services and to assist business magnates targeted by US sanctions. Rand Paul hand-delivered a letter from Mr. Trump to Putin, asking for "expanding dialogue".