Russian Federation chastises US after sanctions over chemical attack in Britain

The US announcement fuelled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible effect of more US sanctions on Russian assets and the rouble slid by over 1 per cent on Thursday against the dollar, a day after falling towards its lowest level in almost two years.

Medvedev said Moscow would take economic, political or other retaliatory measures against the United States if Washington targeted Russian banks. Russia is already under USA sanctions for its 2014 invasion of Crimea, and the Trump administration expelled 60 Russians from the US and shuttered the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the failed assassination attempt.

According to the State Department, those sanctions will include the presumed denial of export licenses for Russian Federation to purchase many items with national security implications. If Russia does not meet three criteria - ending its use of such weapons, assuring the US that it has no plans to use them again, and offering to let global observers verify that - then there will be a second, harsher round of sanctions in 90 days.

The restrictions were triggered under USA law on chemical weapons following a formal US determination that Russia used the Novichok nerve agent to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March.

Russian Federation condemned new United States sanctions as "draconian" on Thursday after news of the measures sent the rouble tumbling to two-year lows and sparked a wider asset sell-off.

It was one of a strain of nerve agents known as Novichok that they say is kept under tight control by the Russian authorities. He said nerve agents and other "horrific" weapons must not become a new norm, and "states like Russian Federation that use or condone their use need to know there is a price to pay".

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the USA move runs contrary to a "constructive" atmosphere at the Trump-Putin summit last month, and he strongly denied any Russian role in the poisoning in Britain.

Russian Federation assets tumbled following news of the sanctions, with the USA dollar strengthening to its highest level against the ruble since November 2016.

Lavrov and Pompeo also discussed issues on the global agenda, including the situation in Syria, and other topics considered during the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 16.

The warning, from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, reflects Russian fears over the impact of new restrictions on its economy and assets, including the ruble RUB= which has lost almost six percent of its value this week on sanctions jitters.

The State Department denied inconsistency in US policy and maintained that sanctions were aimed at encouraging improved behaviour from Russian Federation.

Russia considers completely illegitimate new anti-Russian US sanctions that will be imposed in connection with the "business of Violinists".

As the Turkish lira sent tremors through the emerging markets by hitting all-time lows, analysts at Rosbank said the rouble was hit more by the situation in emerging markets than by concerns about new sanctions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that while Putin had agreed that the plan should be discussed, he had not decided whether to approve it, while two government sources said it was very rough and needed careful study.

Vanessa Coleman

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