Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

US Will Sanction Russia After UK Nerve Agent Attack

US Will Sanction Russia After UK Nerve Agent Attack

The rouble-dollar rate reached 66.7 on the Moscow stock exchange.

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, along with daughter Yulia, was found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury.

The announcement of U.S. sanctions caused the value of the rouble to plunge early on Thursday and Russian stock markets to fall.

This week, Britain's the Guardian newspaper reported London is preparing to ask Moscow to extradite two Russian citizens suspected of carrying out the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

The Skripals both recovered and left the hospital.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked the USA on Thursday in a tweet.

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

Unless Russia agrees within 90 days to stop all use of chemical weapons and permit inspections to confirm their elimination, the law requires the United States to choose from a range of additional measures, including withdrawal of US support for global loans and USA bank loans, prohibition of landing rights for Russian airlines, and suspension of diplomatic relations.

The Russian embassy in the United States hit back on Thursday morning.

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"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".

"Whatever the sanctions against Russian Federation are, the retaliatory measures will be the same", she said.

Proposed U.S. legislation prepared by several senators calls on Trump to widen the sanctions further to include virtually all Russian energy projects and effectively bar Western companies from any involvement in the country.

Vladimir Putin's government violated an worldwide act banning the use of chemical and biological weapons with the assassination attempt, the State Department said.

The Russian economy is still reeling from worldwide sanctions imposed on Moscow in 2014 over its actions in Ukraine and a crash in oil prices the same year.

Previous occasions were against Syria and against North Korea for the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of leader Kim Jong-un, who died when highly toxic VX nerve agent was rubbed on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Countries can also impose financial sanctions.

All are prohibited from any transactions involving the United States financial system.

"Once again we deny in the strongest terms the accusations about the possible connection of the Russian state to what happened in Salisbury".

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And President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on virtually everything China sells to the United States. Chinese state media, reflecting the government's stance, has said China will not be cowed in the face of US threats.

Washington had become an unpredictable player on the worldwide stage, Peskov added, saying "anything could be expected" from it and that it was important that Russia's financial system, which he described as stable, was prepared.

"Frankly, the tariffs against China will have a greater impact than this latest round of sanctions on Russian Federation".

The latest United States action follows the Treasury's imposition of sanctions in March against 19 Russian citizens and five entities for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election - the toughest steps against Moscow since Trump took office.

What was the nerve agent?

In March former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, were poisoned with a Soviet-designed nerve agent known as Novichok.

Sterling set new 2018 lows against the dollar and the euro overnight before steadying as this week's selling and hedging amid fears of a no-deal Brexit snowballed on Wednesday, with options market volatility covering the remainder of the year climbing higher.

Turkey's lira, Britain's pound and now Russia's rouble are all in play this week with outsize losses in each due to domestic policy concerns and global trade and diplomatic relations.

Washington ordered 60 diplomats to leave and closed the Russian consulate-general in Seattle. Two others later became ill, officials believe, from coming into contact with the same poison.

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