US to impose fresh sanctions on Russia over Skripal poisoning

State department says it will censure Moscow over use of Novichok in Salisbury attack

Personnel  secure a tent covering a bench in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury as they investigate the poisoning of Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March. File photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Personnel secure a tent covering a bench in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury as they investigate the poisoning of Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March. File photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

 

Washington said on Wednesday it would impose fresh sanctions on Russia after it determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a Russian former agent and his daughter in Britain.

Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March after a liquid form of Novichok was applied to his home’s front door.

Britain has accused Russia of being behind the attack, which the Kremlin vehemently denies.

State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it had been determined that Russia “has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals”.

The news came as Republican US senator Rand Paul said on Wednesday he had delivered a letter from president Donald Trump to Russian president Vladimir Putin proposing co-operation.

The sanctions would be structured in two tranches, with the biggest impact from the initial sanctions expected to come from a ban on granting licences to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, NBC reported, quoting a senior state department official.

Since the March attack, two other British nationals with no ties to Russia have been poisoned by the substance.

Following a 15-day congressional notification period, the sanctions will take effect on or about August 22nd, according to a statement from the state department. – Reuters and AP