US readying new sanctions on Russia over nerve-agent attack in Britain

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrive to begin work at the scene of the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, Britain. (File photo: Reuters)

The White House has received a package of new sanctions to be imposed on Russia in retaliation for the 2018 nerve-agent attack on Russian double agent in Britain, Bloomberg reported  on Friday.

Officials at the US Treasury and State Departments have vetted the sanctions and are awaiting approval from the White House to issue them, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The White House, the Treasury Department and the State Department did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March 2018 after a liquid form of the Novichok type of nerve agent was applied to his home’s front door.

Skripal and his daughter survived. Russia has denied any involvement in the attack.

European countries and the United States expelled 100 Russian diplomats after the attack, and the United States imposed sanctions on Russia in August after it determined Moscow was responsible for the attack.

Those sanctions covered sensitive national-security controlled goods, a senior State Department official told reporters, citing the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act.

The State Department said in November it would impose additional sanctions on Russia after Moscow failed to give reasonable assurances it would not use chemical weapons.

Russia’s rouble was down 1 percent on Friday at 65.53 per dollar.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54