Novichok attack: Russian Federation denounces 'draconian' new U.S. sanctions

     TARGETED Sergei and Yulia Skripal were exposed to Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok

The Russian government has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack.

Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Thursday that 'the restrictions are absolutely unlawful and don't conform to global law'.

A Russia Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Thursday the restrictions represent a new attempt to "demonize Russia".

"And it would be react to this war economically, politically, or, if needed, by other means", he said.

"Once again we totally reject any allegations of possible Russian government involvement over what happened in Salisbury", Peskov said Thursday, adding that "Russia did not have and does not have anything to do with the use of chemical weapons".

Moscow would consider new USA sanctions in the financial sector "a declaration of economic war", Russian prime minister said on Friday.

"The strong global response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russian Federation that its provocative, reckless behaviour will not go unchallenged".

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on 4 March, having been poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. One of them, Dawn Sturgess, died eight days later. Our provision of foreign assistance is a tool of USA power and influence, and we're not going to foreswear that just because we have the obligation to impose some sanctions against Russian Federation.

Russia's economy had demonstrated it was stable in the face of past sanctions, as well as fluctuations in the oil price, he said in a statement.

"We are being threatened with further escalation of sanctions pressure", she said. He insisted that Russia's financial system is strong enough to withstand shocks from the new penalties.

What was certain, Gudkov said, was that pro-Kremlin media outlets would use the new sanctions as fresh confirmation of a story line about a "Russophobic" West that many Russians buy. Royce and other lawmakers have accused the administration of dragging its feet on making Wednesday's determination.

The US is trying to play up this "anti-Russian topic as a way to continue demonizing Russia" and make it appear that it is not fulfilling its worldwide obligations, Zakharova said. Authorities say they have linked the two batches of the deadly nerve agent.

If Russia was brazen enough to kill with a chemical weapon on British soil, could it happen in the United States?

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and a former colonel in the Russian army, said the State Department's move looked like the latest salvo in what he called a hybrid war. His administration has sanctioned a number of Russian officials and oligarchs for human rights abuses and election meddling.

"Such decisions taken by the American side are absolutely unfriendly and can hardly be somehow associated with the constructive - not simple, but constructive - atmosphere that there was at the last meeting of the two presidents", Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said. State Department officials told reporters on a call that the economic impact of the sanctions would be in the range of "hundreds of millions of dollars" and would target electronic devices and engines, for example.



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