New Round Of Sanctions Could Suspend Russian Oil, Fuels Exports To US

Russia tells Washington curbs on its banks would be act of economic war

Salisbury Spy Poisoning: US Says Russia Was Behind Nerve Agent Attack In UK, And Will Impose Sanctions

On March 4 Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who had worked for United Kingdom intelligence, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury.

Britain, the United States and other nations have accused Russian Federation of ordering the poisonings.

The sanctions would be structured in two tranches, with the biggest impact from the initial sanctions expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, NBC reported, quoting a senior State Department official.

The U.S. sanctions announced on Wednesday, which will go into effect around August 22, will restrict the licenses granted for exports of national security goods and technologies to Russian Federation.

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.

The US administration is obliged to act, under legislation, if chemical or biological weapons have been used.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said this afternoon that Moscow was starting to work on measures following Washington's decision to impose sanctions, which she claimed were using the Salisbury attacks in March as a pretext.

In April 2018, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on seven of Russia's richest men-or "oligarchs"-as well as 17 top government officials, to put pressure on President Vladimir Putin's inner circle". British police scoured sections of Salisbury and Amesbury in southwest England, searching for a container feared to be contaminated with traces of the deadly nerve agent Novichok.

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Dawn Sturgess, 44, later died in hospital.

The sanctions are mandated by a US law that requires action over the use of chemical and biological weapons-but President Trump maintains significant discretionary power over the degree of that punishment.

The US sanctions came despite President Donald Trump's efforts to improve relations with Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, and his harsh criticism of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Our provision of foreign assistance is a tool of USA power and influence, and we're not going to foreswear that just because we have the obligation to impose some sanctions against Russian Federation.

"You can impose sanctions against another state because you want to see a change in behaviour of the other state", says Professor Moritz Pieper, a lecturer in worldwide relations at the University of Salford.

"This whole accusatory pyramid is being built in the absence of any legal substantiation, but they're still telling us about worldwide law and respect for legal obligations", Zakharova told the Moscow briefing.

In the event of non-compliance, the official added, a second round of "draconian" sanctions would be given a green light.

NBC, citing USA officials, said the second round of sanctions could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending the state airline Aeroflot's ability to fly to the United States and cutting off almost all exports and imports.

A State Department official denied that the actions undermined President Trump's continued assertions that he would like to improve relations with Russian Federation.

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