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Sunday 15 September 2019

US to impose new sanctions on Russia over Skripal poisoning

Target: Russian former spy Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned
Target: Russian former spy Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned

Maria Danilova

The Trump administration has said it is consulting with Congress about placing additional sanctions on Russia over the nerve agent poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

The State Department said Russia had failed to meet a 90-day deadline that fell on Tuesday to comply with a 1991 US law on preventing the use of chemical weapons.

The US and its allies have accused the Russian government of involvement in the Novichok attack in March on Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The State Department announced in August that Russia had violated the chemicals law in the Skripal case.

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the agency will now consult with Congress on what fresh sanctions it will impose.

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Two Russians accused of being behind the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Russia strongly denies it was behind the attack, which was also linked to the death of Dawn Sturgess in nearby Amesbury in July after she and her partner Charlie Rowley were exposed to the nerve agent. Mr Rowley survived.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at the time Russia was "deeply concerned" about the incident - but said accusations that it was involved are "absurd".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously branded Mr Skripal a traitor and a “scumbag”.

Asked about sanctions on Russia triggered by the attack, Mr Putin called the ex-spy “just a scumbag” who betrayed his country.

He reiterated Russia’s claim that it has nothing to do with the poisoning.

Mr Putin said the former agent was of no interest to the Kremlin since he was tried in Russia and exchanged in a spy swap in 2010.

PA Media

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