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US imposing new sanctions on Russia

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-10 07:36

WASHINGTON - The United States has said it will impose new sanctions on Russia for "illegally using a chemical weapon" in an attempt to kill a former spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom this year - a claim denied by Moscow.

The new sanctions, to be imposed later this month, came despite US President Donald Trump's efforts to improve relations with Russia and his harsh criticism of the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In response to the announcement, the Russian Embassy in the United States issued a statement referring to "far-fetched accusations" and saying Russian officials had yet to hear any facts or evidence and that the US had refused to answer questions.

The US State Department said on Wednesday that the US made the determination this week that Russia had used the Novichok nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, and that sanctions would follow.

Those sanctions will include the presumed denial of export licenses for Russia to purchase many items with national security implications, according to a senior State Department official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Given that the chance for reconciliation from Moscow is slim, US experts said the sanctions may continue to hurt the Russian economy and drive further the vicious cycle of US-Russia hostilities.

London said Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by the Novichok military-grade nerve agent in the English town of Salisbury in March. Both eventually recovered. Britain has accused Russia of being behind the attack, which the Kremlin has strenuously rejected.

Months later, two residents of a nearby town with no ties to Russia were also allegedly poisoned by the toxin. Police believe the couple accidentally found a bottle containing Novichok. One of them died.

Diplomats expelled

The US had joined the UK in condemning Russia for the Skripal poisoning and joined with European nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response.

In its statement, the Russian Embassy said it had been informed on Wednesday of "draconian" sanctions against Russia.

"We grew accustomed to not hearing any facts or evidence. The American side refused to answer our follow-up questions, claiming that the information is classified. However, we were told that the US has enough intel to conclude that Russia is to blame," the embassy said.

Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, said on Thursday that the US has behaved like a "police state, threatening and torturing a suspect to get evidence".

Ap - Xinhua

(China Daily 08/10/2018 page12)

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