US to impose ‘additional sanctions’ on Russia over Skripal poisoning claim
"Today, the Department informed Congress we could not certify that the Russian Federation met the conditions required by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday. “We intend to proceed in accordance with the terms of the CBW Act, which directs the implementation of additional sanctions."
Those sanctions may include downgrading diplomatic relations, banning the Russian national carrier Aeroflot from flying to the US, and cutting off nearly all imports and exports, already severely curtailed under a series of sanctions since 2014.
In August, the State Department sent Moscow a note claiming that Russia had violated the CBW Act by using “Novichok” nerve agent against Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
The Skripals were hospitalized in early March, and the British government accused Moscow of using the deadly toxin. The UK government has offered no evidence for its claims, but the US and a number of NATO countries took London’s word for it and expelled over 150 Russian diplomats. Russia has retaliated in kind.
Among the demands from Foggy Bottom was that Russia stop using chemical weapons and provide “reliable” assurances to the US it will not do so again, subject to verification by international inspectors. Moscow was given a three-month deadline to fulfill these conditions.
"Everyone who is at least a little bit familiar with the so-called Skripal case understands the absurdity of the statement contained in the official State Department document,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the time. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said any further US sanctions could be considered a declaration of a trade war.
Russia says the last of its chemical weapons were destroyed in 2017, and that this was verified by international observers.
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