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Russian Federation slams "unacceptable" new US sanctions

10 August 2018

United States and European allies have publicly blamed the Kremlin for attempting to kill the two in the British town of Salisbury using a Novichok nerve agent, a claim Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied.

The U.S. State Department announced the new punitive measures on Wednesday for the Kremlin's alleged involvement in a nerve agent attack in Britain, saying the U.S. had made the determination this week that Russia used the Novichok nerve agent to poison former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

Sanctions will go into effect on August 22 after a mandatory waiting period, the State Department said.

If Moscow does not comply, a second round of sanctions could further downgrade diplomatic relations with Russian Federation.

The US is trying to play up this "anti-Russian topic as a way to continue demonising Russia" and make it appear that it is not fulfilling its worldwide obligations, Ms Zakharova said.

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"Of course, such decisions taken by the American side, are absolutely unfriendly", said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in discussing the new sanctions with reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

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. One of them died.

The Kremlin said the new sanctions were "illegal and do not correspond to worldwide law". 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.

Those sanctions will include the presumed denial of export licenses for Russian Federation to purchase many items with national security implications, according to a senior State Department official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to do so by name. After its latest dive Thursday, the ruble had fallen to roughly 66 to the dollar - a decline that harms the buying power of Russians interested in traveling overseas or in buying foreign goods.

If Moscow violates the sanctions then it could see restrictions on flights from the Russian Aeroflot airline to the USA, sanctions on US bank loans, increased export and import restrictions, including on gas and petroleum, and potentially even a downgrade of diplomatic relations.

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

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharaova denied Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning on Thursday and said Moscow is working on unspecified "retaliatory measures" against the United States.

But he has faced criticism from US lawmakers for not taking a stronger position against reported Russian interference in the 2016 USA elections.

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

Moscow has been trying with mixed success to improve battered U.S. -Russia ties since Donald Trump won the White House in 2016, and Russia's political elite was quick to chalk up a summit last month between Trump and Vladimir Putin as a victory.

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Russian Federation slams