U.S. To Impose New Sanctions On Russia Over Skripal Attack

Russian newspaper leaks draft text of U.S. Senate's Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act

Russian newspaper leaks draft text of U.S. Senate's Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act

WASHINGTON-The U.S. announced new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday over the nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K.in March, saying Moscow violated an global ban on chemical and biological weapons.

In a statement Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the USA had made this decision on Monday, and accused Russian Federation of violating worldwide law.

On March 4, Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia for spying for the United Kingdom but later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury.

NBC, a U.S. news network, cited a senior state department official as saying that the sanctions would be structured in two tranches. Under a 1991 law, he was required to act once the administration determined Russian responsibility for a chemical or biological weapons attack.

The British Foreign Office said it welcomed the USA move to impose sanctions over the poisoning.

It would reportedly include more drastic measures, such as downgrading diplomatic relations, banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the U.S. and cutting off almost all exports and imports.

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".

Washington had already expelled dozens of Russian diplomats from the U.S. over the poisoning.

"This is a question of implementing laws Congress put in place", the official told reporters on a conference call Wednesday afternoon. It was determined that they were sickened by Novichok - a Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent. Dawn Sturgess later died while her partner, Charlie Rowley, spent three weeks recovering in hospital.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also pressed Trump to address the poisonings when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month.

The August 8 announcement by the State Department followed earlier moves by Washington to expel dozens of Russian diplomats, in coordination with Britain and other European allies, in response to the poisoning, which authorities said used a highly toxic agent known as Novichok.

Rowley and Sturgess were hospitalised after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent June 30.

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