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USA justification for sanctions 'far-fetched' - Russian Federation

10 August 2018

"We believe linking new [U.S.] restrictive measures, which we continue to consider illegitimate, to the Salisbury case is totally unacceptable", Peskov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS, referring to the suspected poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom.

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The US State Department said on Wednesday it would impose fresh sanctions by the month's end after determining that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in Britain.

In June, two British citizens living near Salisbury, where the Skripals were poisoned, also came in contact with Novichok.

The sanctions are created to target electronic devices and some large equipment, including aircraft gas turbine engines, with an exemption for equipment used for mutual U.S. -Russia space exploration.

It could be followed 90 days later by a harsher round of measures, possibly including suspending Aeroflot flights to the USA, barring most exports and imports and downgrading diplomatic relations, if Moscow cannot certify that Russian Federation is no longer using chemical weapons or provide "reliable assurances" it will not do so in future. -Russian relations. A 1991 law, however, mandates sanctions once the president makes a determination that a country is responsible for a chemical or biological weapons attack.

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The sanctions will cover sensitive national security goods, a senior State Department official told reporters on a conference call.

"Following a 15-day Congressional notification period, these sanctions will take effect upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register, expected on or around August 22, 2018", the department continued.

Russian markets had already been falling amid heightened concern about another, separate round of sanctions, including those on owners of Russian sovereign debt, under consideration by the U.S. Senate over alleged U.S. election meddling by Moscow.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were hospitalized and treated for a nerve-agent attack in March. At the time, the USA expelled a number of Russian diplomats, that too nominally over the poisonings.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce, who had pushed months ago for Trump to take action over Russia's use of banned weapons, applauded the move as "key to increasing pressure on Russian Federation".

"Frankly, the tariffs against China will have a greater impact than this latest round of sanctions on Russian Federation".

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Why has it made a decision to impose sanctions now?

Some former officials told The Post, however, that the order seemed more like a "a cover-your-behind exercise" for the administration than meant to seriously deter foreign powers.

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. Lindsey Graham, one of the measure's lead sponsors, has called it "the sanctions bill from hell".

The ruble is down 14.25% versus the dollar this year. Just this week, Republican Sen.

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (front) and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attend a session of the Council of Heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Sochi on October 11, 2017.

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USA justification for sanctions 'far-fetched' - Russian Federation