Trump administration puts sanctions on Russia for Skripal poisonings

The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on Russia, albeit only after repeated pressure from Congress, for the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter in the U.K. last year.
By Rick Docksai | Aug 09, 2018
The State Department announced new sanctions Wednesday against Russia over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. last year. Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the sanctions will go into effect August 22 and will consist of new limits on exports to and financial transactions with Russia, along with a total ban on selling sensitive national-security goods to Russia.

Nauert cited a 1991 law, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, which calls for automatic sanctions on countries that violate international prohibitions on chemical and biological weapons, as the basis for the basis for the administration's action. She said that State officials concluded Monday after a review process that Russia had violated the 1991 law.

The instigating event occurred in March 2017 and involved former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, being admitted to a British hospital and being treated for what turned out to be a nerve-gas attack. UK and U.S. investigators later agreed that the Russian government was culpable.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce praised Wednesday's announcement. The Trump administration is "rightly acting to uphold international bans" on chemical weapons," Royce said in a statement, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin "must know that we will not tolerate his deadly acts, or his attacks on our democratic process."

Royce's words mark a reversal from last month, when the chairman himself criticized the administration for not acting sooner. Congress requested in March that the White House decide by July if Russia had violated international law.

The White House missed the deadline, which led Royce to call Trump out directly on the issue. Royce pressed Trump again later, insisting that he reach a decision by midday Wednesday. Trump complied, by way of the State Department's announcement.

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