The US State Department announced on Wednesday that it is imposing new sanctions against Russia over the alleged involvement of the Kremlin in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain, despite no evidence for these claims being substantiated.
US authorities expect the new sanctions against Moscow to enter into force on August 22, when the sanctions should be published in the Federal Register.
The US State Department statement reads:
“Following the use of a “Novichok” nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, the United States, on August 6, 2018, determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals.
Following a 15-day Congressional notification period, these sanctions will take effect upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register, expected on or around August 22, 2018.”
According to NBC, the initial impact of this new round of anti-Russian sanctions is likely to be more significant in targeting Russia’s sensitive domestic security products, which in the past included items such as devices and electronic components, as well as testing equipment and calibration used in the aviation industry. Prior to the sanctions, these exports were released on a case-by-case basis.
On March 4, 2018, former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, convicted in his country of treason and living in the United Kingdom for years, was found unconscious along with his daughter near a shopping mall in the English city of Salisbury, with symptoms of poisoning.
Even before the results of the investigations, the British government rushed to accuse Russia of being behind the alleged assassination attempt, despite the absence of evidence and Moscow’s denial. Then other countries, primarily allies of Washington and London, joined the anti-Russian chorus in expelling Russian diplomats and threatening further measures.