WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will impose sanctions on Russia under a chemical and biological warfare law following the poisoning of a former Russian agent and his daughter in the UK earlier this year, the State Department announced Wednesday.
In a statement Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US had made this decision on Monday, and accused Russia of violating international law. 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.
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia Skripal were hospitalized and treated for a nerve-agent attack in March. Yulia Skripal was discharged from the hospital in April, and her father was discharged in May following the novichok poisoning.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously denied allegations that Russia was behind the poisonings, saying in March that it was “unthinkable that we would do such a thing.”
US President Donald Trump said in the wake of the attack that “it certainly looks like” Russia was behind it and his then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the time that the US had “full confidence” in the UK’s investigation and conclusion that Russia was probably culpable. Wednesday’s announcement reaffirmed the accusation from the US that Russia had used Novichok against its own nationals.
In late March, Trump ordered 60 more Russian diplomats expelled from the US as part of a global response to the attack — a response that included similar expulsions of diplomats from other nations checking Russia. Moscow, in turn, responded to the international action by ordering its own expulsion of foreign diplomats.