Britain hails U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation over spy attack

The State Department announced Wednesday it will impose new sanctions on Russian Federation for allegedly using a chemical weapon in an attempt to kill a former spy and his daughter in Britain earlier this year.

The US State Department said on Wednesday it would impose fresh sanctions by the month's end after determining that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, in Britain.

Russia's embassy in the United States called the new U.S. sanctions draconian and said the reason for the new restrictions - allegations it had poisoned the Skripals in Britain - was far-fetched.

The first set of sanctions covered by that announcement, which USA officials said target export licenses of sensitive US technologies and industrial equipment, such as electronics, calibration equipment, and gas turbine engines, are expected to enter into force around August 22.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharaova denied Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning on Thursday and said Moscow is working on unspecified "retaliatory measures" against the United States.

Previous occasions were against Syria and against North Korea for the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of leader Kim Jong-un, who died when highly toxic VX nerve agent was rubbed on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Russia is already under US sanctions for its 2014 invasion of Crimea, and the Trump administration expelled 60 Russians from the USA and shuttered the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the failed assassination attempt.

The Russian Embassy in Washington said the "draconian" new sanctions against Russia weren't backed by any facts or evidence, noting that while the USA said it has enough information to conclude that Russia is to blame, it refused to disclose what it has, saying the information is classified. They aim to deny Russian state-owned and state-funded enterprises access to any national-security-sensitive goods and technologies originating in the U.S.

A senior Russian lawmaker denounced the sanctions as "lynch law". It's a benefit, they argue, of policies put in place amid a raft of Western sanctions imposed over Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged interference in the US 2016 presidential elections.

The State Department's surprise announcement of the new sanctions on Wednesday jolted Moscow, where some politicians and analysts had been hopeful that Putin's meeting with President Trump in Helsinki in July would stabilize U.S.

"And this war will have to be responded - by economic, political and, if necessary, other means". Earlier, American Airlines and United Airlines stopped flying to Russian Federation.

Sanctions waivers were in place for certain key sectors, including space flight activities and commercial aviation safety, the official said.

But Congress has been pushing for such a decision and now the state department has confirmed Russia's actions contravened 1991 USA legislation on the use of chemical weapons.

Trump also ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians, including 12 identified as intelligence officers, and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.

Both Skripal and his daughter survived the attack, but spent weeks recovering in the hospital.

Vanessa Coleman