Russian Federation calls fresh USA sanctions "illegal"

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The State Department announced the penalties on Wednesday - a response to the poisoning last March of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, in the British town of Salisbury.

But that initial triumphalism quickly turned sour.

The State Department says August 8, sanctions will be imposed on Russian Federation as the country used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law.

Irina Yarovaya, deputy speaker of the State Duma, accused the U.S. of "masterminding" the nerve agent attack on the Skripals as a pretext for announcing more sanctions.

The sanctions are mandated by a USA law that requires action over the use of chemical and biological weapons-but President Trump maintains significant discretionary power over the degree of that punishment. 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.

Under the terms of the sanctions, any attempt by a US company to obtain an export licence to sell anything with a potential national security goal - gas turbine engines, electronics, integrated circuits and testing and calibration equipment - will be automatically denied.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says that Moscow would consider it a "declaration of economic war" and would retaliate "economically, politically, or, if needed, by other means" if the United States imposes bans on Russian banks or their use of a particular currency.

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.

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Moscow has long cast the accusations as a Western plot to damage its reputation and provide a convenient pretext for more sanctions.

He said the countries were now in a state "balancing on the verge of war".

However, the department says it will exempt aid to civil society and humanitarian groups and allow exports needed for continued U.S. -Russia cooperation in space.

Washington's latest measures were imposed on Wednesday after it determined Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in the UK. The carve-outs will include a - we will have a waiver for the provision of foreign assistance to Russia and to the Russian people.

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

The United States, Royce noted, had imposed sanctions against North Korea in response to what it determined was a violation of the law following the assassination of Kim Jong Un's brother with the chemical warfare agent VX as he was passing through the worldwide airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February 2017.

"They are not an instrument, but the policy itself".

The sanctions enacted so far this year, and the threat of more, have already inflicted pain on Russia's middle class.

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