U.S. strongly condemns Russia's poisoning of former spy - White House

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

The State Department announced its intention Wednesday of implementing new sanctions on Moscow in response to its involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this year in Salisbury, U.K., using a chemical agent.

The sanctions are expected to take effect on or around August 22 following a congressional notification period.

US President Donald Trump said in the wake of the attack that "it certainly looks like" Russian Federation was behind it and his then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the time that the US had "full confidence" in the UK's investigation and conclusion that Russian Federation was probably culpable.

New sanctions proposals in U.S. Congress include legislation targeting Russia's state-controlled banks and freezing their operations in dollars - a move that would deal a heavy blow to the Russian economy. But U.S. officials had not yet confirmed the use of banned nerve agents in the attack.

No. In June the USA imposed sanctions on five Russian companies and three Russian individuals in response to alleged Russian cyber-attacks on the US. Moscow has been blamed for the poisonings, but has denied any involvement.

The Kremlin on Thursday lashed out at new USA sanctions on Moscow, calling them "absolutely illegal" and assuring investors that the country's financial system is firm despite declines in the ruble and domestic equities.

Anger over what some USA lawmakers saw as a too-deferential performance by Trump and his failure to confront Putin over Moscow's alleged meddling in United States politics galvanized a new sanctions push against Moscow.

But initial triumphalism swiftly turned sour as anger over what some US lawmakers saw as an over deferential performance by Trump and his failure to confront Putin over Moscow's alleged meddling in USA politics galvanized a new sanctions push.

If Russia was brazen enough to kill with a chemical weapon on British soil, could it happen in the United States?

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An official said it was only the third time that the U.S. had determined a country had used chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals.

The US sanctions came despite President Donald Trump's efforts to improve relations with Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, and his harsh criticism of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"And we must absolutely respond to this war; by economic means, by political means and if necessary by other means", he added.

Sanctions waivers were in place for certain key sectors, including space flight activities and commercial aviation safety, the official said.

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".

A second round of sanctions that could go into effect 90 days later would cut far deeper, including blocking all American bank loans to Russian entities, an outright ban on USA exports to Russia, and suspension of diplomatic relations.

Trump also ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians, including 12 identified as intelligence officers, and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.

They were seriously ill but later made a full recovery after spending several weeks in hospital.

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