Novichok attack: Russian Federation denounces 'draconian' new USA sanctions

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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.

The ruble is down 14.25% versus the dollar this year. On Tuesday the rouble rate had been 63.4.

She accused Washington of picking the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, as a "contrived excuse" for sanctions.

The sanctions stem from a March nerve-agent attack against a former Russian spy in the U.K. The U.S. and Britain have held Russia responsible for the attack.

The euro also gained against the rouble, which slumped to a rate of 76.8.

He criticised the United States decision to link the sanctions to the British nerve agent case, an incident the Kremlin has long cast as a Western plot to damage its reputation and provide a pretext for more sanctions. Mr Skripal and his daughter recovered after intensive care in hospital, and their current whereabouts are being kept secret.

The attack prompted an initial wave of diplomatic expulsions between U.S. -Britain allies and Russia - including the tit-for-tat exit of 60 Russian and U.S. diplomats in March.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked the USA on Thursday in a tweet. He argued Russian Federation "could not have any connection to the use of chemical weapons".

The British government welcomed the USA decision to impose fresh sanctions on Russian Federation.

The Russian embassy in the U.S. hit back on Thursday morning.

In a statement issued by its embassy in Washington, Russia called charges that Moscow employed chemical weapons "far fetched" - arguing the USA lacked evidence, and repeating demands for a new investigation into the poisoning.

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She said sanctions would take effect on or around August 22.

In this case, it means that the US has banned American companies in certain industries from exporting their goods to Russian Federation. These could go as far as a ban on Russian airlines using USA airports.

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

Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) wrote to President Trump on July 26 that enforcement of the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 in Russia's UK Novichok attack "is critical to deterring additional attacks".

The U.S. made a similar determination in February when it found that North Korea used a chemical weapon to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2017.

All are prohibited from any transactions involving the U.S. financial system.

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. Those sanctions restrict travel and financial transactions.

The State Department announced a number of possible exceptions to the new sanctions.

What was the nerve agent?

Prices of Russia's government bonds, known as OFZs, also inched higher from Thursday lows. More than 20 countries expelled Russian envoys in solidarity with the United Kingdom, including the US.

Two other British citizens fell ill due to Novichok exposure in late June in a town close to Salisbury.