Russia calls new U.S. sanctions draconian, rejects poisoning allegations

     COLLATERAL Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were also exposed to the nerve agent

FACEBOOK ITV COLLATERAL Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were also exposed to the nerve agent

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, England, on March 4, having been poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

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.

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.

A senior U.S. State Department official said later new sanctions would not apply directly to Aeroflot, but could theoretically affect the company if it tried to import any of the goods covered by the sanctions.

The Kremlin has condemned as "unacceptable" new sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on Russia over Moscow's alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian double agent.

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

It's also not clear why the U.S. made a decision to wait five months after the expulsions to impose the sanctions.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also pressed Trump to address the poisonings when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month. One of them, Dawn Sturgess, died eight days later.

Nearly 700 Russian people and companies now are under USA sanctions.

The Financial Stability Board - an worldwide body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system, said in a 2018 report, that Russia's financial system "continued to suffer from weak governance, including sometimes non-transparent ownership structures and deficiencies in reporting".

Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were hospitalized and treated for a nerve-agent attack in March.

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.

Experts say Russian Federation is unlikely to meet those requirements, but it's also hard to imagine the Trump administration cutting diplomatic ties with Russian Federation in three months.

"In our view, these and earlier restrictions are absolutely unlawful and don't conform to worldwide law", Mr Peskov said.

Although the United States says it is sanctioning Moscow over the Sergei Skripal case, the measures are actually due to internal U.S. politics which have led to a "sanctions war" in Washington, writer and journalist Neil Clark told RT.

The Kremlin has vehemently denied any involvement in the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents, and it did so again in lieu of new sanctions.

The official said the first tranche of sanctions, being imposed under a 1991 USA law concerning chemical and biological weapons, would take effect on August 22.

While Kremlin spokesman Peskov suggested the Kremlin was still weighing how to respond to the sanctions, other Russian officials were less circumspect.

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