The US must make Putin pay for his nerve agent attack

10 August, 2018, 12:42 | Author: Sheila Harris
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     TARGETED Sergei and Yulia Skripal were exposed to Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok

Lawmakers from Russia's ruling party accused USA politicians of treating the country like a punching bag in their partisan infighting and in midterm campaigning.

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the administration had "complied with the law" and would continue to do so, but added: "We'd like to have a better relationship with the Russian government, recognizing that we have a lot of areas of mutual concern".

No. In June the United States imposed sanctions on five Russian companies and three Russian individuals in response to alleged Russian cyber-attacks on the US.

Moscow has been trying to improve battered US-Russia ties with mixed success.

Months after Britain alleged that the Russian government carried out nerve-agent attacks in Salisbury, the Trump Administration has announced a new round of sanctions against Russia, aimed to punish them for the incident.

Responding to new sanctions on Russian Federation, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The UK welcomes this further action by our USA allies".

The sanctions came as an eagerly-watched contest for a previously safe Republican seat in the United States congress went to the wire, leading to speculation that voters were turning against Donald Trump and could punish the Republican Party at mid-term elections.

Unless Russia agrees within 90 days to stop all use of chemical weapons and permit inspections to confirm their elimination, the law requires the United States to choose from a range of additional measures, including withdrawal of US support for global loans and USA bank loans, prohibition of landing rights for Russian airlines, and suspension of diplomatic relations.

A State Department official said the sanctions could have a significant impact on trade with Russian Federation.

Britain said it welcomed the USA response to the chemical attack in Salisbury, the sleepy English town where the Skripals were poisoned. "At times, the number of those who want to ditch the rouble is becoming so high, so there is not enough liquidity".

After pressure from Republican members of Congress, the state department has determined Moscow broke global law by using a military-grade chemical weapon on the Skripals.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was equally emphatic.

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.

In March, the Trump administration ordered 60 Russian diplomats - all of whom it said were spies - to leave the United States and closed down Russia's consulate in Seattle in response to the Skripal case.

Moscow has angrily rejected any involvement in the poisoning, plunging diplomatic relations with London into crisis.

Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the upper house of parliament's global affairs committee, was cited by the Interfax news agency as saying it appeared Washington was now behaving like "a police state".

Russia's government slammed as "unacceptable" on Thursday new USA sanctions against Moscow.

"Sanctions are the US weapon of choice", Trenin wrote on Twitter.

Sanctions can be quite a blunt instrument if they are a blanket ban on something, and can have unintended consequences.

At variance with Moscow over Ukraine and Syria, Western sanctions have already drastically reduced Western involvement in Russian energy and commodities projects, including large scale financing and exploration of hard-to-recover and deep water resources. Among other measures, it would put sanctions on any transactions related to Russian energy projects and new Russian sovereign debt, as well ban American individuals and businesses from working with Russian oil projects.

Introduced by Republican and Democratic senators last week in draft form, Sen. "No one does. And our goal is to resist all these measures".

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