Britain welcomes US sanctions for Russian Federation over Skripal poisoning


The US is poised to impose sanctions on Russia in retaliation for a March nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.

When asked about how the new sanctions jibe with President Trump's desire to improve relations with Russian Federation, which he made quite clear during last month's summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, a State Department official said they're perfectly aligned, as the entire Trump administration is "tough on Russian Federation".

The announcement of U.S. sanctions caused the value of the ruble to plunge early Thursday and Russian stock markets to fall.

".Such decisions taken by the American side are absolutely unfriendly and can hardly be somehow associated with the constructive - not simple but constructive - atmosphere that there was at the last meeting of the two presidents", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

It comes after Republican and Democrat senators introduced a draft bill last week proposing curbs on several Russian-owned banks operating in the USA and restrictions on their use of the dollar.

A Downing Street spokesman said: 'The UK welcomes this further action by our USA allies.

The use of chemical or biological weapons, which is a violation of worldwide law, triggers sanctions under US law.

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.

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Medvedev's tough tone was in stark contrast with past statements by President Vladimir Putin and his lieutenants, who have taken a nonchalant posture while talking about USA and other Western sanctions, seeking to downplay their impact on the Russian economy.

Speaking after the State Department announcement, Royce said the administration was "rightly acting to uphold worldwide bans on the use of chemical weapons".

Reuters curiously leaves out the catalyst for the sanctions applied by the White House, never mentioning the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal and the Russian use of a chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, a key USA ally.

The Russian central bank said the rouble's fall to multi-month lows on news of new US sanctions was a "natural reaction" and that it had the necessary tools to prevent any threat to financial stability.

New sanctions proposals in U.S. Congress include legislation targeting Russia's state-controlled banks and freezing their operations in dollars - a move that would deal a heavy blow to the Russian economy.

In April 2018, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on seven of Russia's richest oligarchs as well as 17 top government officials, to put pressure on President Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

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

What was certain, Gudkov said, was that pro-Kremlin media outlets would use the new sanctions as fresh confirmation of a story line about a "Russophobic" West that many Russians buy. British officials said they found evidence the substance used in the attack was Novichok, a nerve gas developed in the Soviet Union during the 1980s.