USA imposes sanctions on Russian Federation for nerve agent attack in UK

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But initial triumphalism swiftly turned sour as anger over what some US lawmakers saw as an over deferential performance by Trump and his failure to confront Putin over Moscow's alleged meddling in USA politics galvanized a new sanctions push.

Per BBC, US investigators have determined the country is behind the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, who were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, England.

The Government has been consistent in pointing the finger of blame at Moscow for the poisoning using novichok - a military-grade nerve agent developed by the former Soviet Union. One of the victims, Dawn Sturgess, later died, leading police to launch a murder inquiry.

The timing of the decision to now find Moscow in violation of the sanctions-inflicting law, five months later, has therefore been seen as significant by some, coming at a moment when President Trump is under pressure to appear tough on Russian Federation over election meddling.

"The government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law", US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

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The use of chemical or biological weapons, which is a violation of global law, triggers sanctions under USA law.

Under the terms of the sanctions, any attempt by a US company to obtain an export licence to sell anything with a potential national security goal - gas turbine engines, electronics, integrated circuits and testing and calibration equipment - will be automatically denied.

In June, two more people were taken to hospital after being exposed to the nerve agent.

Why has it made a decision to impose sanctions now?

But "smart sanctions" are sometimes used - they're much more targeted and created to only punish a small number of people rather than an entire nation. Lev Gudkov, director of Russian independent pollster Levada Center, said it was quite possible that Putin would see a boost in his approval rating as a result of the sanctions, even though economic challenges could harm him in the long term.

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Last month, British Prime Minister Theresa May urged Trump to raise the issue of the poisonings when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, although it remained unclear whether the subject came up in their talks. The U.S. said at the time it was the largest expulsion of Russian spies in American history.

"We have grown accustomed to not hearing any facts or evidence".

"We consider categorically unacceptable the linking of new restrictions, which we as before consider illegal, to the case in Salisbury", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on August 9.

"We confirmed that we continue to strongly stand for an open and transparent investigation of the crime committed in Salisbury and for bringing the culprits to justice".

Analysts in Moscow said it was highly unlikely that Putin would allow inspectors to enter the country to head off the additional sanctions, since doing so would look like succumbing to US pressure.

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The Finance Ministry said on Thursday there was no threat to financial stability, a statement markets interpreted as a signal Moscow had no immediate plans to channel any of its $458 billion worth of reserves into propping up the rouble.

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