New US sanctions could pitch Russia relations to new low

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The U.S. will also ban Russian Federation from receiving U.S. weapons or military technology and financial assistance. Russia denies any involvement in the Skripal attack, but the use of Novichok on a former mole for the British sent a loud and unnuanced message of its own to other Russians who work with foreign intelligence.

Medvedev warned the US that such a move would cross a red line.

The US has been imposing ever-increasing sanctions against Russian Federation in recent years, with the Trump Administration passing new ones every few weeks. "We will consider countermeasures to this most recent unfriendly move by Washington".

The sanctions announced by the Trump administration this past week could start to change that equation.

The State Department announced new sanctions on Wednesday, blaming Moscow for the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in Britain in March.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a telephone call Friday that the new sanctions were "categorically objectionable", according to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement.

The new sanctions will take effect on or around August 22, and relate to exports of electronic components and other technologies.

"It is possible that trade affected could potentially reach hundreds of millions of dollars", the official added.

The Russian central bank said the ruble's fall to multi-month lows on news of new USA sanctions was a "natural reaction" and that it had the necessary tools to prevent any threat to financial stability.

The penny could drop, though, in three months' time.

The officials said another round of sanctions could be forthcoming unless Russian Federation meets "certain criteria", which include halting the use of all chemical and biological weapons and permitting on-site inspections of its facilities by worldwide observers. Trump made no public comments on the matter, and communications aides referred all questions to the State Department, which said the US still sought improved ties with Moscow.

One tool it said it might use was limiting market volatility by adjusting how much foreign currency it buys.

The US and European Union also have sanctions in place against dozens of Russian state officials and firms accused of involvement in the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and support for the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The relationship is already routinely described as at its worst since the Cold War. He argued Russian Federation "could not have any connection to the use of chemical weapons". "But we haven't", he said.

The prospects for passage of what Graham called the "sanctions bill from hell" are uncertain.

With more Congressional pushes for yet more sanctions, Russian Federation issued a warning Friday that further sanctions amount to a "declaration of economic war" against Russian Federation.

Moscow has angrily rejected any involvement in the poisoning, plunging diplomatic relations with London into crisis.

Russian Federation contends that US sanctions against Moscow are illegal.

Russian Federation has threatened to ban sales of a key rocket engine to the United States in response to new sanctions over the Skripal poisoning. While Trump has hankered for closer ties with Putin, the government he leads has been far less accommodating. It was an allegation Russian Federation has repeatedly denied.

Peskov said the sanctions were contrary to the "constructive atmosphere" established during U.S. President Donald Trump's July summit with Putin in Helsinki.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said the U.S. is behaving like a "police state, threatening and torturing a suspect to get evidence".

"Vladimir Putin must know that we will not tolerate his deadly acts, or his ongoing attacks on our democratic process", Royce said.