Russian premier compares new sanctions to declaration of economic war

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were attacked with novichok and found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March

The U.S. had joined Britain in condemning Russia for the Skripal poisoning and joined with European nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response, but it had yet to make the formal determination that the Russian government had "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals".

The administration has imposed fresh sanctions on Russia in retaliation for the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March.

On Wednesday, the US State Department announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian exports of dual-purpose electronics and other national security-controlled equipment, which will come into effect on August 22.

In March, two weeks after the Skripal attack, President Trump signed a statement, together with the leaders of France, Germany, and Britain, blaming Russia for the assassination attempt on the former Russian military officer, who was convicted of spying for Britain.

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However, the second tranche, activated after 90 days if Moscow fails to provide "reliable assurances" it will no longer use chemical weapons and allow on-site inspections by the United Nations or other worldwide observer groups, is more serious.

Saudi Arabia blocks flights from Canada
The Middle Eastern nation has also frozen all new trade and investment with Canada, according to the Saudi Press Agency. Another source said Canada will be turning to its old ally the United Kingdom for help, which has appealed for calm.

While Russia reserved the right to retaliate against new trade restrictions, the U.S. threatened to intensify sanctions within three months, by potentially cutting off almost all exports and imports and banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the US.

The announcement of the sanctions prompted Russian stocks and the ruble to tumble on Thursday.

9 responded to new US sanctions accusing it of conducting an illegal chemical attack, calling them "unacceptable".

Also in March, Washington ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, and the closure of Russia's consulate general in Seattle.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce, who had pushed months ago for Trump to take action over Russia's use of banned weapons, applauded the move as "key to increasing pressure on Russian Federation". And unlike the coordinated trans-Atlantic sanctions enacted in response to the Ukraine crisis in 2014, America's European allies - who together trade far more with Russian Federation that the United States does - aren't following suit this time with new sanctions of their own. It would also impose mandatory sanctions on individuals found to have taken part in the interference. Among other measures, it would put sanctions on any transactions related to Russian energy projects and new Russian sovereign debt, as well ban American individuals and businesses from working with Russian oil projects.

Medvedev's tough talk on August 10 came after the United States announced a new round of sanctions and US lawmakers proposed further measures, including restrictions on the operations of several state-owned Russian banks and curbs on their use of the USA dollar.

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