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US to sanction Russia for chemical weapons attack on ex-spy in UK

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with Russian Defense Ministry top officials and representatives of the Russian Defense Industry, at Bocharov Ruchei residence. (Klimentyev Mikhail/TASS /ZUMA Press/TNS)
August 08, 2018

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

The U.S. State Department will issue fresh sanctions on Russia later this month for what it says was a chemical weapons attack on an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. earlier this year.

The State Department determined that Russia “used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The new sanctions include “bans on the sale of certain defense technologies to Russia,” The Washington Post reported.

They can be expected around Aug. 22, after Congressional notification, the State Department said in a statement.

The U.S. in March expelled 60 Russian diplomats and announced it would close the Russian consulate in Seattle, Washington, after Russia was accused of deliberately trying to poison an ex-spy in the U.K.

U.K. police revealed earlier this year that a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned by a nerve agent in England, which raised speculation that the Russian government ordered the “targeted” assassination attempt.

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, “were targeted specifically.” Both fell ill and were in serious condition.

Some emergency workers who responded to the scene where the two were found also became sick, and one police officer had been in serious condition.

Skripal is a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who was convicted of selling secrets to Great Britain in 2006, and was then sent to Britain in 2010 as part of a prisoner swap.