The United States has imposed new sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s alleged role in poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.
The move has been deemed as an attempt to boost US President Donald Trump’s argument that he is “tough” on Russia as a special counsel investigation into his alleged collusion with the Kremlin peaks.
Sixty-six year old Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, 33, (pictured above) were poisoned by a nerve agent and later found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury, England, on March 14.
The Trump administration asserted Wednesday that Russia has violated international law by the nerve agent attack.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on a determination, triggering the new sanctions automatically.
According to spokeswoman Heather Nauert, the sanctions will go into effect “on or around” August 22.
“The government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals,” Nauert said, citing the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act).
The case that British authorities blame on Moscow has already triggered a major response by European countries, which in protest have taken unified action and collectively ordered expulsion of scores of Russian diplomats from respective embassies.
According to NBC News, Trump was “nudged” by US Congress to make the move against Moscow.
Trump initially remained silent for two months in response to a formal congressional request to determine whether Russia had violated international law.