The US must make Putin pay for his nerve agent attack

  • The US must make Putin pay for his nerve agent attack

The US must make Putin pay for his nerve agent attack

But the punitive measures triggered a furious reaction from Moscow.

The higher price of oil, however, has given Russia's government a large financial cushion to maintain public services and to assist business magnates targeted by US sanctions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the new sanctions "categorically unacceptable" and "illegal".

The full U.S. Congress will not be back in Washington until September, and even then, congressional aides said they did not expect the measure would pass in its entirety.

He said Moscow felt it could now "expect anything at all from Washington" but nevertheless retained "hopes of building constructive relations".

"We once again flatly reject any accusations regarding the possible involvement of the Russian state in what happened in Salisbury". The markets and the currency rebounded slightly over the day while remaining sharply down.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the government and central bank had the tools to maintain financial stability and would use them if necessary.

As a result, Russian analysts say that fresh sanctions are unlikely to weaken Putin, at least in the short term.

He said the countries were now in a state "balancing on the verge of war".

The move could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars worth of exports to Russian Federation, said the official, who requested anonymity in order to speak about the sanctions. The first, which targets United States exports of sensitive national-security related goods, comes with deep exemptions and numerous items it covers have already been banned by previous restrictions.

"The categories covered by this could include things such as electronic, computers, sensors and lasers, telecommunications, specialised oil and gas production equipment and information and security technologies, just to name a few". The exports were previously allowed on a case-by-case basis.

They also banned some of the major business leaders with ties to the Russian government from coming into the European Union and US.

"Today's step is an important but moderate set of sanctions", said Peter Harrell, a sanctions official in the Obama administration, adding that further sanctions expected in three months "could be among the most severe yet, but could also be quite modest, depending on where the Trump administration wants to go". Russia's motivation can only be guessed at but the most plausible explanation is that, with or without President Putin's explicit approval, Russian military intelligence sought to punish a traitor and test the limits of western patience with a single batch of the nerve agent known as novichok.

Moscow ordered 60 American diplomats expelled in a tit-for-tat response.

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.

The Russian Embassy in Washington said the "draconian" new sanctions against Russia weren't backed by any facts or evidence, noting that while the USA said it has enough information to conclude that Russia is to blame, it refused to disclose what it has, saying the information is classified.

Reports earlier this week that the United Kingdom was preparing to request the extradition of two Russians it suspected of being behind the attack were found to be less advanced than initially suggested, Sky sources said.