U.S. Sanctions Put Russia on Edge

U.S. orders new sanctions against Russia over chemical attack in Britain

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.

Moscow would start to work on retaliatory measures "in the same spirit" as any United States restrictions, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Kremlin earlier on Thursday called the latest action by the US State Department "illegal" and "unacceptable".

Despite assurances, the ruble fell to a two-year low, and shares of Russian companies likely affected by the sanctions - including several banks and Russia's national air carrier Aeroflot - dipped in value.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova leading a briefing, February 10, 2016. It said Congress is being notified of the August 6 determination and that the sanctions would take effect on or around August 22, when the finding is to be published in the Federal Register.

Analysts in Moscow said it was highly unlikely that Putin would allow inspectors to enter the country to head off the additional sanctions, since doing so would look like succumbing to US pressure.

"In this way, the USA is consciously taking the path of further heightening of tensions in bilateral relations that have already been brought practically to zero by their efforts".

British police reporteldy have identified multiple Russian suspects who left the country after the poisonings of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in March in Salisbury, England, along with a police officer who responded to the scene.

A State Department official denied that the actions undermined President Trump's continued assertions that he would like to improve relations with Russian Federation.

He went on to say the sanctions "contravene global law". Sergei Skripal is a former Russian military office who was convicted of spying for Britain.

State Department officials said there would be "carve-outs" in the sanctions for "the provision of foreign assistance to Russia and to the Russian people", as well as for joint spaceflight activities and commercial aviation.

The new USA sanctions would cover sensitive national-security controlled goods, a senior State Department official told reporters.

The sanctions against Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation target USA exports of sensitive goods relating to national security.

Such technologies have often been used in items such as electronic devices and calibration equipment. The exports were previously allowed on a case-by-case basis.

It said the situation was a "natural reaction of the financial market to news about new potential sanctions". There will also be some further restrictions on Russian access to United States financial services.

Britain said it welcomed the United States response to the chemical attack in Salisbury, the sleepy English town where the Skripals were poisoned.

The US announcement fuelled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible effect of more US sanctions on Russian assets and the rouble slid by over 1 per cent on Thursday against the dollar, a day after falling towards its lowest level in almost two years.

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The attack led, three months later, to the subsequent death of Dawn Sturgess, and the contamination of her partner, Charlie Rowley. Moscow has been blamed for the poisonings, but has denied any involvement.

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