Washington prepares more Russia sanctions over alleged Britain nerve attack
The US said Tuesday it was preparing more sanctions against Moscow over the alleged assassination in Britain of a former spy, after a previous round sowed chaos on Russian markets.
Three months after the US declared that Russia violated a US law that seeks the elimination of chemical and biological weapons, the State Department told Congress in a legally-mandated followup that Moscow had not come into compliance.
“We intend to proceed in accordance with the terms of the [Chemical and Biological Weapons] Act, which directs the implementation of additional sanctions,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
She said the State Department was in discussions with Congress, which has led the push to punish Russia, to determine the exact measures.
British investigators said Russian operatives on March 4 tried to kill Sergei Skripal, a former intelligence officer and double agent, and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the English city of Salisbury.
The attack involved Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The two Russians survived but a third person died after exposure.
Under the US law, the State Department must slap further sanctions three months after its initial determination unless a country proves it has reversed course on chemical and biological weapons, for example by inviting in international inspectors.
Russia has denied involvement in the Salisbury attacks and has promised reciprocal measures to all US sanctions.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned in August that any imposition of further sanctions would consti- tute a “declaration of economic war.”
The Kremlin said new sanctions would be illegal and that Russia would respond with similar measures.
And in comments after Democrats seized control of the lower house of the US Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Russia said it did not foresee bilateral ties improving any time soon.