The Trump Administration announced last Wednesday that it was imposing new sanctions on Russia over the nerve agent attack against the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
The State department said that the US government determined that Russia used Novichok nerve agent in the near fatal attack on Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England in March this year.
The sanctions which will take effect on August 22 are decreed under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act (CBW Act).
Russia is given a 90 day deadline to renounce the usage of chemical and biological weapon and provide investigators access to their facilities. Failure to do so will lead to broader sanctions which will certainly affect diplomatic ties, general trade, bank loans and Aeroflot landing rights.
A Senior Official from the White House commented:
“Certainly is really up to Russia to make that decision, whether they meet this criteria. The second round of sanctions are in general more draconian than the first round.”
Denial of export licenses to Russia to purchase a long list of items with national security implications is included in the sanctions. Equipment such as turbine engines, integrated circuits and avionics calibration instruments are included in the list.
However, waivers have been granted for foreign assistance and activities related to space flights.
“We are applying these sanctions against essentially all Russian state-owned or state-funded enterprises. That’s potentially a very great sweep of the Russian economy in terms of the potentially affected end users,” the Senior Official said.
“It may be that something on the order of 70% of their economy and maybe 40% of their workforce falls within those enterprises.”
A representative of the British government praised Washington’s announcement:
“The strong international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behavior will not go unchallenged.”