Further US Sanctions Would Be 'Declaration Of Economic War': Russia


Medvedev said Moscow would take economic, political or other retaliatory measures against the United States if Washington targeted Russian banks. The United States will impose sanctions on Russia for the country's use of a nerve agent in an assassination attempt on a former Russian spy and his daughter.

"Our country had been living under constant pressure through sanctions for the last hundred years", Medvedev said, accusing the United States and its allies of employing sanctions to undercut global competition. "That's out of the question." he added. Trump made no public comments on the matter, and communications aides referred all questions to the State Department, which said the US still sought improved ties with Moscow.

New sanctions are expected to come into effect on or around August 22 following a 15-day Congressional notification period.

The sanctions are mandated under the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, which says the U.S. president shall tighten the penalties within 90 days unless Moscow provides "reliable assurances" that it no longer engages in such activities, and allows on-site inspections by United Nations observers.

Three months later, Charlie Rowley of Amesbury, England, found a sealed, boxed bottle of perfume and gave it to his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, who died after spraying the Novichok within on her wrists.

Russia is already under US sanctions for its 2014 invasion of Crimea, and the Trump administration expelled 60 Russians from the USA and shuttered the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the failed assassination attempt.

The action by the US State Department is the latest salvo in a series of disputes between the rival powers and comes less than a month after US President Donald Trump met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

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A State Department official said the sanctions could have a significant impact on trade with Russian Federation.

In a brief statement, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the USA had determined this week that Russian Federation used the nerve agent Novichok to poison Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March "in violation of worldwide law" - a move that triggers sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

The tough message from Dmitry Medvedev marked what the Kremlin sees as a red line, reflecting a growing dismay with the new US sanctions that already has sent the Russian ruble plummeting to its lowest level in two years.

The Russian economy is still reeling from worldwide sanctions imposed on Moscow in 2014 over its actions in Ukraine and a crash in oil prices the same year.

Even as rumors of impending new sanctions swirled in the media, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul - a supporter of Trump's efforts to engage Russia - announced he had delivered a letter from President Trump to Putin during meetings with Russian officials in Moscow earlier this week.

The UK blames Russia, but the Russian government strongly denies any involvement.