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US to impose fresh financial sanctions on Russia over Skripal poisoning


US to impose fresh financial sanctions on Russia over Skripal poisoning

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Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria

New US sanctions on Russia will come into effect today, justified by the March 2018 poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in the British city of Salisbury.

The sanctions, which fall under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, will oppose “the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance to Russia” by financial institutions and limits US banks from purchasing Russian sovereign debt. The US will also limit the export of goods and technology to Russia that could be used in the country’s chemical and biological arms programmes.

These measures constitute the second round of sanctions against Russia by the Trump administration following the alleged assassination. Last year, the US banned arms sales and arms sales financing as well as exports of national security-sensitive goods to Russia.

Moscow has said that the sanctions will damage already strained ties between Washington and Moscow. The new restrictions, which will remain in place for at least 12 months, could potentially prevent Russians from accessing billions held in commercial ventures globally.

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With the US presidential election approaching—and with Russian interference in the 2016 election likely to be invoked by the Democrats—Donald Trump may continue to ratchet up pressure on Russia in a bid to deprive his domestic political opponents of the ‘soft on Russia’ attack line.

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