Moscow to treat new U.S. sanctions as act of economic war

Moscow to treat new U.S. sanctions as act of economic war

A Kremlin spokesman slammed the new sanctions as illegal and repeated that Russia had nothing to do with the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England in March - the episode that sparked the fresh trade restrictions and other measures announced by the Trump administration on Wednesday.

The attack prompted the United Kingdom and its Western allies to expel many Russian diplomats - and Russia retaliated with its own expulsions.

The ruble sank to 66.48 against the United States dollar, its lowest since November 2016, while the Russian stock market index RTS dropped 3.2 percent and the MOEX almost 1.2 percent, before rebounding slightly.

The Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 requires that in order to avoid the next round of sanctions, Russian Federation must prove it is not using chemical or biological weapons and allow impartial observers to verify compliance.

"Our American friends should make no mistake about it", he emphasized. "And it's unlikely they're in any way associated with the complicated but constructive atmosphere of the last meeting between the two presidents".

A second set of measures could be substantially broader and would be imposed if Moscow fails to meet a 90-day deadline to provide "reliable assurances" it will no longer use chemical weapons, allow on-site inspections by the United Nations or other worldwide observer groups, and respond to other US demands.

A Downing Street spokesman said: 'The UK welcomes this further action by our USA allies.

The sanctions announcement coincided with reports that the White House is drafting its own executive order that would sanction foreigners involved in election interference.

First day of second Test between England and India abandoned at Lord's
England have yet to decide whether Chris Woakes, a fellow pace-bowling all-rounder, or off-spinner Moeen Ali will replace Stokes. England lead the five-match series 1-0 after completing a thrilling 31-run victory at Edgbaston last week in Birmingham.

Russian banks were also affected, with shares in state-run Sberbank sliding 4.7 percent.

The US is trying to play up this "anti-Russian topic as a way to continue demonizing Russia" and make it appear that it is not fulfilling its global obligations, Zakharova said.

President Trump had already moved to expell a hundred Russian diplomats from the USA following the attack.

The new sanctions will not fully take effect until later in August, but already the Russian ruble tumbled to two-year lows and nervous investors began selling off Russian assets.

While Russia returned to growth in 2017 after two years of recession, it pales in comparison with growth figures seen during Putin's first two terms in office from 2000 to 2008 thanks to soaring oil prices.

Medvedev's tough tone was in stark contrast with past statements by President Vladimir Putin and his lieutenants, who have taken a nonchalant posture while talking about USA and other Western sanctions, seeking to downplay their impact on the Russian economy.

Vladimir Vasilyev, a senior researcher at the Institute of the U.S. and Canada in Moscow, said the Americans were strengthening sanctions "from an element of pressure into an ultimatum". 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.

"In this situation, building relations is impossible to even speak about".

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