Russia To Decide Retaliatory Measures To US Sanctions: Ministry

Months after the attack a couple in a nearby town were also poisoned by the deadly toxin

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 October 11, 2017. The currency sank toward its weakest close since November 2016.

The rouble plummeted to its weakest since August 2016, at 66.73 versus the dollar after the sanctions were announced, shedding 5 percent of its value compared with levels of late last week.

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 global observers.

The US administration is obliged to act, under legislation, if chemical or biological weapons have been used.

The new sanctions were to take effect following a 15-day Congressional notification period, she said.

They are aimed at punishing Putin's government for having "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law", spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Instead, Russia is likely to respond with its own sanctions.

In March, the United States joined European nations in expelling Russian diplomats to answer the poisonings.

The share values of major Russian firms, including Aeroflot, Rusal and Sberbank, also fell several percentage points in Moscow on Thursday.

"The Russian economy, the balance of payments, have become much more resilient to external pressure in recent years", Siluanov said.

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. 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.

But the punitive measures - which were welcomed by Britain - triggered a furious response from Moscow.

The announcement fueled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible impact of more USA sanctions on Russian assets and the rouble at one point slid by over 1% on Thursday against the dollar, hitting a two-year low. For context, the latest Russian total export figure, for July, was 4.735 million bpd.

The higher price of oil, however, has given Russia's government a large financial cushion to maintain public services and to assist business magnates targeted by USA sanctions.

Angrily, to say the least. 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.

While criticized as too keen to strike up a friendship with Putin, Trump maintains that he's been tough on Moscow.

"Making a linking to these events (the British poisoning) is for us unacceptable and such restrictions like those passed by the American side earlier ... are absolutely illegal and do not correspond to global law", said Peskov.



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