United States to impose sanctions on Russian Federation over nerve attack in UK

European countries and the United States expelled 100 Russian diplomats after the attack, in the strongest action by President Donald Trump against Russia since he came to office.

The Trump administration said Wednesday it would impose more sanctions against Russia as punishment for its use of a nerve agent in an attempt in March to assassinate British citizen and ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The sanctions will take effect on or around August 22 - and come at a time when President Trump has been trying to improve relations between the USA and Russian Federation.

NBC, a USA news network, cited a senior state department official as saying that the sanctions would be structured in two tranches.

The US is poised to impose sanctions on Russia in retaliation for a March nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.

Months later, two residents of a nearby town with no ties to Russian Federation were also poisoned by the deadly toxin.

Police think the novichok was sprayed or smeared on their front doorknob with a perfume bottle.

A US State Department official said the action is aimed at punishing Russian government for having "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law". Waivers have been issued for foreign assistance and space flight activities, while commercial passenger aviation and other commercial goods for civilian use will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, according to the official who briefed reporters.

The second round of sanctions could cut far deeper, including blocking all American bank loans to Russian entities, an outright ban on USA exports to Russia, and suspension of diplomatic relations.

On June 30, a British couple were poisoned by Novichok in a nearby town - 44-year-old mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess subsequently died while her boyfriend Charlie Rowley recovered.

While criticized as too keen to strike up a friendship with Putin, Trump maintains that he's been tough on Moscow.

Vanessa Coleman

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