Russia says it would treat new sanctions as ‘illegal’

Russia will consider criminal any sanctions imposed by the U.S. over the chemical weapon poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal the Kremlin announced Wednesday. 

“We consider restrictions imposed by the United States against Russia illegal,” spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, according to Reuters.

The State Department and House Foreign Affairs Committee announced Tuesday a new round of sanctions would be slapped on Moscow after it failed to comply with a series of requirements over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain. 

The new round of sanctions will be automatically triggered under a 1991 law on the elimination of chemical and biological weapons.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceTrump administration tells Congress Moscow has triggered new sanctions It’s time to recognize the service of Chinese-American WWII veterans with Congressional Gold Medal Trump faces Election Day deadline on Russia MORE (R-Calif.) said the administration has not clarified what the sanctions would entail or a timeline on when they would be imposed, which he criticized as “unacceptable.”

“No one should be surprised that Vladimir Putin refuses to swear off future use of weapons-grade nerve agents. It is unacceptable that the administration lacks a plan — or even a timeline — for action on the second round of mandatory sanctions required by U.S. law,” Royce, who is retiring at the end of this Congress, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Trump administration in August announced the first round of sanctions on Russia over the use of a military-grade nerve agent in an unsuccessful assassination plot against Skripal in Salisbury, Great Britain, last March, the harshest of which blocked exports of sensitive national security goods to Russia. 

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A second round was triggered after the administration did not certify that Russia followed up to meet a more stringent set of conditions, including showing it is no longer using biological or chemical weapons in violation of international law and allowing United Nations inspections of its facilities to prove it. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMidterms: The winners and losers GOP Rep. Mike Bost wins reelection in Illinois Sisolak becomes first Dem to win Nevada governor race since 1994 MORE and Russian President Vladimir Putin will both be at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina later this month, but it is unclear if they will meet in person.


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