U.S. Sanctions Put Russia on Edge

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (front) and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attend a session of the Council of Heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Sochi on 11 October 2017.

Faced with a new round of USA -sanctions over alleged chemical weapons use, Russia denounced the move as an "illegal" gesture that defied attempts by President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin aimed at improving relations during a recent summit.

The State Department announced Wednesday it will impose new sanctions on Russian Federation for allegedly using a chemical weapon in an attempt to kill a former spy and his daughter in Britain earlier this year.

But Peskov said the sanctions undo the goodwill curried by presidents Trump and Putin at their Helsinki summit last month.

But investors didn't wait for details, driving the Russian ruble to a two-year low against the dollar and sending shares in Russian companies plummeting on the stock market.

More sanctions that could sever all US-Russian trade or bring a full rupture of diplomatic relations are likely to follow within...

"In practice this will mean we are imposing a "presumption of denial" upon export licences for USA -origin national security-sensitive goods and technology to any Russian state-owned or state-funded enterprise", the official said in a conference call with reporters. The statement anticipated the sanctions would go into effect around August 22 in line with the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991. America, after due deliberation, has reacted accordingly. "And it's unlikely they're in any way associated with the complicated but constructive atmosphere of the last meeting between the two presidents".

The sanctions were imposed under the provisions of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, which mandates that once the government has determined that a country has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law or even made "substantial preparations" to do so, sanctions must be imposed. The Russian embassy in Washington has accused the USA of running a "sanctions assembly line". That could include the USA withdrawing support for global loans and US bank loans, blocking Russian airlines from landing in the USA, and suspending diplomatic relations.

The State Department announced the sanctions on Wednesday.

A senior State Department official estimated the sanctions could affect hundreds of millions of dollars in trade with Russian Federation. 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.

In the event of non-compliance, the official added, a second round of "draconian" sanctions would be given a green light.

FILE PHOTO: National flags of Russia and the USA fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017.

Russian lawmaker Sergei Ryabukhin made the remarks Thursday, saying Moscow could cut off supplies of the RD-180 rocket engines to the U.S. This could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending state airline Aeroflot flights to the U.S., and cutting off almost all exports and imports.

Nauert said the sanctions would begin on August 22. In fact, a new spike in tensions with Washington could provide a convenient distraction for the Kremlin at a time when Putin faces domestic discontent over the government's effort to raise the retirement age.

Weren't Trump and Putin pally recently?

What was certain, Gudkov said, was that pro-Kremlin media outlets would use the new sanctions as fresh confirmation of a story line about a "Russophobic" West that many Russians buy.