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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

New US Sanctions on Russia Come Into Effect

By VOA News August 27, 2018

New U.S. sanctions against Russia over a nerve agent attack in Britain come into effect Monday.

The Kremlin said it would review the sanctions in full before considering a possible response, but it would act in Russia's best interests.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the new sanctions will only make dialogue more difficult, Reuters reported.

The sanctions would terminate some financial assistance and arms sales to Russia, as well as deny the country credit and prohibit the export of security-sensitive goods and technology.

U.S. officials accuse the Kremlin of violating international law, saying the Russian government was behind the poisoning in Britain of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia. Both were hospitalized and treated for a nerve-agent attack.

The White House is mandated to impose sanctions under a 1991 U.S. law on any country deemed to be responsible for a chemical or biological weapons attack. A second set of penalties, harsher than those in first round, will follow, according to the law, if Russia fails to agree within 90 days to cease all use of chemical weapons and allows inspectors to confirm their elimination.

The Kremlin has denied vehemently any involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals, and analysts say Russian President Vladimir Putin is highly unlikely to grant international inspectors access to suspected chemical weapons sites.

Monday's sanctions follow a decision earlier this year by the Trump administration to expel 60 Russian diplomats and close a consulate in Seattle, following the Skripal's poisoning.

Last week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said he warned his Russian counterpart not to interfere in the U.S. mid-term elections in November, saying the United States is "prepared to take necessary steps to prevent it from happening."

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