United States to impose new sanctions on Russian Federation for nerve attack in UK

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     TARGETED Sergei and Yulia Skripal were exposed to Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok

Newly announced US sanctions-and the potential for a second round of actions in 90 days-roiled Russia's currency and blue-chip stocks as the country braced for further economic pain amid uncertainties over the Trump administration's commitment to enforcement.

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.

That could include the USA withdrawing support for global loans and US bank loans, blocking Russian airlines from landing in the US, and suspending diplomatic relations.

The Russian ruble plummeted to its lowest level against the dollar since 2016 on Thursday as Washington prepares to penalize Moscow for a chemical attack in the United Kingdom earlier this year. One of the hardest hit was Aeroflot, the Russian state airline, which could lose its ability to fly to the United States as a possible outcome of the new sanctions.

European countries and the United States expelled 100 Russian diplomats after the attack, in the strongest action by President Donald Trump against Russia since he came to office.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said states that "use or condone" chemical weapons "need to know there is a price to pay", adding: "Thank you U.S. for standing firm with us on this". In March, American carrier Delta said it plans to stop its flights to Moscow. "And it's unlikely they're in any way associated with the complicated but constructive atmosphere of the last meeting between the two presidents".

The spokesman said sanctions that the State Department said it would impose by the end of August fulfilled its legal obligations "after determining a foreign government has used chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals or in violation of global law".

"The UK welcomes this further action by our U.S. allies", a spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said in a statement.




The sanctions came as an eagerly-watched contest for a previously safe Republican seat in the U.S. congress went to the wire, leading to speculation that voters were turning against Donald Trump and could punish the Republican Party at mid-term elections.

In the meantime, Moscow is threatening to halt exports of rocket engines in retaliation.

A senior State Department official said Wednesday that there could be exceptions.

As the Trump administration punishes Moscow with more sanctions, the U.S.is taking a renewed look at how best to protect Russian defectors, dissidents and other émigrés, as well as how to respond if a military-grade nerve agent were ever deployed on American soil.

The Russian rouble has slumped to its lowest level since November 2016, hours after the United States announced new sanctions because of the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the UK. After its latest dive Thursday, the ruble had fallen to roughly 66 to the dollar - a decline that harms the buying power of Russians interested in traveling overseas or in buying foreign goods.

Britain, which blamed Russian Federation for the attack, welcomed Washington's decision to impose the sanctions.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin called the measures "unfriendly" and "unlawful". In fact, a new spike in tensions with Washington could provide a convenient distraction for the Kremlin at a time when Putin faces domestic discontent over the government's effort to raise the retirement age.

It said the situation was a "natural reaction of the financial market to news about new potential sanctions". Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov complained about the new sanctions in a phone call on Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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