The Kremlin yesterday branded as “unacceptable” new US sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in a nerve agent attack on a former spy, as the ruble and Russian stocks tumbled.
The action by the US State Department is the latest salvo in a series of disputes between the rival powers, and comes less than a month after US President Donald Trump met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
The State Department said on Wednesday the new sanctions were in response to “the use of a ‘Novichok’ nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate UK citizen Sergei Skripal” – who was a Russian double agent – and his daughter Yulia on English soil in March.
They are aimed at punishing Putin’s government for having “used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law,” spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
But the punitive measures – which were welcomed by Britain – triggered a furious response from Moscow.
“We consider categorically unacceptable the linking of new restrictions, which we as before consider illegal, to the case in Salisbury,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
However, he added that “Moscow retains hopes of building constructive relations with Washington”. — AFP