Monday 17 December 2018

US to impose sanctions on Russia over nerve agent attack on former Russian spy in UK

Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who were victims of a nerve agent attack in March
Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who were victims of a nerve agent attack in March
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Washington said on Wednesday it would impose fresh sanctions on Russia after it determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian 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 the Novichok type of nerve agent was applied to his home's front door.

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."

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

Yulia Skripal was contaminated with the nerve agent Novichok along with her father Sergei Skripal (Dylan Martinez/PA)
Yulia Skripal was contaminated with the nerve agent Novichok along with her father Sergei Skripal (Dylan Martinez/PA)

The news came as Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul said on Wednesday he had delivered a letter from President Donald Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin proposing cooperation.

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

Responding to new US sanctions on Russia, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The UK welcomes this further action by our US allies.

"The strong international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behaviour will not go unchallenged."

Reuters

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