U.S. to impose sanctions on Russian Federation over Skripal attack

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Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March 2018.

The sanctions would be structured in two tranches, with the biggest impact from the initial sanctions expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, NBC reported, quoting a senior State Department official.

Mr Putin, himself a former KGB spy, said earlier this month Mr Skripal would have been dead if he was attacked with a weapons-grade agent.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, are believed to have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok in the British town of Salisbury in March.

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US President Donald Trump said in the wake of the attack that "it certainly looks like" Russian Federation was behind it and his then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the time that the US had "full confidence" in the UK's investigation and conclusion that Russian Federation was probably culpable.

The action is aimed at punishing President Vladimir Putin's government for having "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The Skripals spent several weeks in hospital after falling seriously ill.

Police found a bottle containing the substance at the scene.

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Relations between Russia and the West hit a new low, and the United States was among UK allies that expelled Russian diplomats.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously denied allegations that Russia was behind the poisonings, saying in March that it was "unthinkable that we would do such a thing".

A couple from Salisbury, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, came into contact with the same deadly batch of nerve agent nearly three months later on June 30.

Rowley and Sturgess were hospitalised after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent June 30.

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