Moscow to treat new US sanctions as act of economic war

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were attacked with novichok and found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the measures were to counter "malicious actors" working to "increase Russia's offensive cyber-capabilities".

Skripal and his daughter were poisoned at their home in Salisbury, England, in March.

The sanctions are expected to take effect later this month. Meanwhile, the US -traded VanEck Vectors Russia exchange-traded fund fell more than 4 percent Wednesday, its worst day since April.

In March, two weeks after the attack, Trump signed a statement, along with British, French and German leaders, blaming Russian Federation. Police believe the couple accidentally found a bottle containing Novichok. One of them, Dawn Sturgess, died eight days later.

The 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act "requires the president to make a determination with respect to whether a country has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals, " the State Department said.

Medvedev said that while the USA describes the restrictions are punishment for Russia's "bad" behaviour, he thinks the real goal is to sideline a rival.

Russia's economy had demonstrated it was stable in the face of past sanctions, as well as fluctuations in the oil price, he said in a statement. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, said Russian Federation had violated worldwide law by using a chemical weapon.

U.S. -Russian relations have soured in recent months over the White House's new tariffs on foreign aluminum and an investigation into Moscow's alleged hacking and disinformation campaign during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked the USA on Thursday in a tweet.

Medvedev pointed at US efforts to block the planned construction of a new Russian natural gas pipeline to Germany in order to encourage the sales of American liquefied natural gas to Europe as an example of "unfair competition".

A week after it was introduced, the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DAKSAA) of 2018 made waves again on August 8 when the Russian daily Kommersant published what it said was the full text of the legislation. Analysts described the Russian market as stunned by the weight of the new sanctions. The shares of Russian state-controlled banks, the national carrier Aeroflot and other companies also tanked.

Several members of Congress had expressed concern the Trump administration was dragging its feet on the determination and had missed a deadline to publish its findings.

Medvedev said: "I would not like to comment on talks about future sanctions, but I can say one thing: If some ban on banks" operations or on their use of one or another currency follows, it would be possible to clearly call it a declaration of economic war, ' said Medvedev.

This week, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that London was preparing to ask Moscow to extradite two Russian citizens suspected of carrying out the Salisbury attack. "Vladimir Putin must know that we will not tolerate his deadly acts, or his ongoing attacks on our democratic process". His administration has sanctioned a number of Russian officials and oligarchs for human rights abuses and election meddling.

Also in March, Washington ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, and the closure of Russia's consulate general in Seattle over the Novichok incident.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said states that "use or condone" chemical weapons "need to know there is a price to pay", adding: "Thank you U.S. for standing firm with us on this".

Ms Zakharova said the United States was "knowingly presenting demands that are unacceptable to us" as conditions for the sanctions to be lifted. "So linking these events is unacceptable to us, and just as with previous USA sanctions we believe are absolutely illegal and against global law", Peskov told reporters.

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