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Russian Federation hits back at 'unacceptable' sanctions as rouble tumbles

Russian Federation hits back at 'unacceptable' sanctions as rouble tumbles”

The Trump administration will impose sanctions on Russia under a chemical and biological warfare law following the poisoning of a former Russian agent and his daughter in the United Kingdom earlier this year, the State Department announced Wednesday.

The U.S. had joined Britain in condemning Russia for the Skripal poisoning and joined with European nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response, but it had yet to make the formal determination that the Russian government had "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals".

Russia's embassy in the United States called the new USA sanctions draconian and said the reason for the new restrictions - allegations it had poisoned the Skripals in Britain - was far-fetched.

A senior State Department official said it had notified the Kremlin of the sanctions earlier in the day.

The Kremlin on Thursday vowed to retaliate against "unacceptable" new United States sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain, which prompted the ruble and Russian stocks to tumble.

The State Department's announcement fuelled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible impact of more sanctions on Russian assets and the rouble at one point slid by over 1 percent against the dollar, hitting a two-year low, before recouping some of its losses. Police believe the couple accidentally found a bottle containing Novichok.

The punishments will get harsher in three months' time if Russian Federation doesn't follow the USA's demands on the use of chemical weapons.

The US and European Union also have sanctions in place against dozens of Russian state officials and firms accused of involvement in the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and support for the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. "Your compliance with the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 is critical to showing Putin that we are serious about challenging his deadly acts, as well as his ongoing attacks on our democracy".

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

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption 2014: Protestors clash with authorities in Ukraine after the area of Crimea was annexed by Russia What different types of sanctions are there?

At the time, the United States expelled a number of Russian diplomats, that too nominally over the poisonings.

The new sanctions come in two tranches.

Russia's economy had demonstrated it was stable in the face of past sanctions, as well as fluctuations in the oil price, he said in a statement.

Trump made no public comments on the matter, and communications aides referred all questions to the State Department, which said the USA still sought improved ties with Moscow.

Nerve agent attack: What is Novichok?

Pushed to take action by the Republican lawmaker who chairs the House's Foreign Affairs Committee, the Trump administration moved on Wednesday to take delayed action.

Irina Yarovaya, deputy speaker of the State Duma, is the latest Russian official to condemn the sanctions that have sent the rouble tumbling and sparked fears of economic catastrophe.

The United Kingdom welcomed the move from the USA on Wednesday.



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