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09 August 2018, 05:37 | Darnell Patrick
JACK TAYLOR GETTY IMAGES
Months after the attack a couple in a nearby town were also poisoned by the deadly toxin
Russian Federation used "chemical or biological weapons" to try to assassinate a former British spy, the USA said on Wednesday, adding that new sanctions would be imposed on the country for the attack.
The Trump administration will impose sanctions on Russia under a chemical and biological warfare law following the poisoning of a former Russian agent and his daughter in the United Kingdom earlier this year, the State Department announced Wednesday. Waivers have been issued for foreign assistance and space flight activities, while commercial passenger aviation and other commercial goods for civilian use will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, according to the official who briefed reporters.
Washington had already expelled dozens of Russian diplomats from the U.S. over the poisoning.
She said the sanctions will take effect on or around August 22.
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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.
Trump caught flak from Democrats and Republicans alike for what many saw as his unsettling embrace of Putin last month at their Helsinki summit, when Trump appeared to disavow his own intelligence agencies' assessment on Moscow's election interference. The US still wants to maintain relations with Moscow, despite the new sanctions. But unless Russia agrees within 90 days to stop all use of chemical weapons and permit inspections to confirm their elimination, additionally mandated measures could cut off nearly all trade between the two countries, prohibit landing rights for Russian airlines, and lead to a suspension of diplomatic relations.
But the Russian finance ministry, quoted by Ria-Novosti news agency, sought to allay fears, saying the measures might not take effect, though it acknowledged that markets were "once again under pressure".
The White House did not immediately send out a statement on the sanctions.
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