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U.S. Sanctions On Russia Over Poisoning In Britain Start Aug. 27


U.K. investigators examine the site in Salisbury where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found poisoned in March. (file photo)

WASHINGTON -- Sanctions against Russia announced after the United States determined that Moscow used a nerve agent in an attempt to "assassinate" a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain will take effect on August 27, the government says.

The details were posted by the U.S. State Department on August 24 on the Federal Register and follow the announcement made in early August that said they would take effect on or around August 22.

The penalties were announced after the United States said it determined that the Russian government "has used chemical weapons in violation of international law or lethal chemical weapons against its own nationals."

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious on March 4 on a bench in the southern English town of Salisbury. They were seriously ill but later made a full recovery after spending several weeks in a hospital.

British authorities determined that the Skripals had been poisoned with Novichok, a military-grade chemical weapon that was developed in the Soviet Union.

Britain and the United States have blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's government for the attack. Russia rejects the accusation.

Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russia's military intelligence agency, was convicted of treason in 2006 by a Russian court that found him guilty of spying for Britain.

Russia released him from prison in 2010, sending him to the West in a spy swap.

The State Department posting said the measures would terminate assistance to Russia except for urgent humanitarian issues, end some arms sales and financing, restrict access to U.S. credit or other financial assistance, and prohibit the export to Russia of restricted goods or technology.

Second Round Of Sanctions

A second batch of sanctions related to the poisoning case will be imposed after 90 days if Russia it does not allow inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to confirm that it no longer has chemical weapons.

Russia has rejected the accusations and the demands, with state-run RIA Novosti news agency on August 24 quoting the Foreign Ministry as saying the sanctions will create more tension between the two countries.

White House national-security adviser John Bolton said earlier on August 24 during a visit to Ukraine that the list of U.S. sanctions, including those imposed for other activities, would "remain in force" until Moscow changes its "behavior."

The United States and the European Union have also imposed sanctions on Moscow for its illegal 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula and its support for separatists fighting against Kyiv's forces in eastern Ukraine.

In addition, the United States has imposed sanctions and taken diplomatic measures against Moscow for its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, allegations Russia also denies.

With reporting by Reuters, RIA, and TASS

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