United States to sanction Russian Federation over Skripal poisoning

FACEBOOK  GETTY    
     TARGETED Sergei and Yulia Skripal were exposed to Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok

FACEBOOK GETTY TARGETED Sergei and Yulia Skripal were exposed to Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok

The United States has said that it is imposing new sanctions on Russian Federation, as it accused the government in Moscow of using a "lethal" nerve agent in an attempted assassination in Britain.

The Trump administration will impose sanctions on Russia under a chemical and biological warfare law following the poisoning of a former Russian agent and his daughter in the United Kingdom earlier this year, the State Department announced Wednesday.

The former Russian double agent and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench in the town of Salisbury, England, on March 4.

A terse release from the State Department said that the United States had determined Russian responsibility for the attack in Salisbury, England - a British conclusion the administration had already accepted - under a 1991 U.S. law on biological and chemical weapons use that requires the president to impose sanctions.

The State Department said the sanctions tied to the use of chemical weapons are expected to take effect around August 22 but didn't immediately say what they would entail.

A senior State Department official said it had notified the Kremlin of the sanctions earlier in the day.

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Police think the novichok was sprayed or smeared on their front doorknob with a perfume bottle.

Washington had already expelled dozens of Russian diplomats from the United States over the poisoning.

There would, however, be exemptions for space flight activities, government space cooperation, and areas covering commercial passenger aviation safety, which would be reviewed on a case by case basis, the official added.

A blazing diplomatic row ensued between London and Moscow in the following weeks and months after the Scotland Yard-led investigation attributed blame to Russian Federation.

The attack led, three months later, to the subsequent death of Dawn Sturgess, and the contamination of her partner, Charlie Rowley. The US still wants to maintain relations with Moscow, despite the new sanctions.

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