U.S. imposes 2nd round of sanctions against Russia for poisoning ex-spy

The United States is announcing a second round of sanctions on Russia for its use of a ‘novichok’ nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal.

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Accused of using a military-grade nerve agent against a former spy and his daughter on British soil, Russia has recently been hit with another round of sanctions announced by the U.S. State Department. Although the Russian government denies making the assassination attempt, this is not the first former Russian spy residing in England who has been targeted by specialized weapons.

On March 4, 2018, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent. On June 27, 2018, Charlie Rowley found a perfume bottle and applicator inside a box in a charity bin. A few days later, Rowley and his partner, Dawn Sturgess, fell ill from Novichok exposure from the contaminated perfume bottle and applicator.

Sturgess never regained consciousness and died in the hospital on July 8, 2018.

On Friday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement, “After the first round of sanctions in response to Russia’s assassination attempt against a private citizen in the United Kingdom, Russia did not provide the assurances required under U.S. law, so we are imposing the second round of sanctions.”

The U.S. State Department issued the following press release on Friday: “Today, pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act), the United States is announcing a second round of sanctions on Russia for its use of a ‘novichok’ nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom on March 4, 2018. This act endangered thousands of lives in Salisbury and Amesbury, and caused the hospitalization of the Skripals, a British police officer, and two civilians, one of whom subsequently died from her exposure.

“This second round will include:

  1. U.S. opposition to the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance to Russia by international financial institutions, such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund;
  2. A prohibition on U.S. banks from participating in the primary market for non-ruble denominated Russian sovereign debt and lending non-ruble denominated funds to the Russian government; and
  3. The addition of export licensing restrictions on Department of Commerce-controlled goods and technology.

“As with the first round of sanctions, these measures will take effect following a 15-day Congressional notification period and thereafter remain in place for a minimum of 12 months.”

After reviewing more than 11,000 hours of CCTV footage and taking more than 1,400 statements, British investigators concluded that two Russian nationals traveling under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – names the police believe to be aliases – arrived at Gatwick Airport from Moscow on March 2, 2018. Two days later, CCTV footage showed them in the vicinity of Skripal’s house, where they allegedly contaminated the front door with Novichok sprayed from the perfume bottle.

While investigating the assassination of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko met with three former KGB officers at the Millennium Hotel in London on November 1, 2006. Forensic evidence has revealed Litvinenko’s teacup had been poisoned with the radioactive isotope, polonium-210. Enduring intense agony, Litvinenko entered a hospital and eventually died of heart failure 22 days later.

On November 1, 2006, Litvinenko met with former KGB officers Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, who introduced him to a third former KGB agent, Vyacheslav Sokolenko. Contaminated with polonium-210, Litvinenko’s teacup was used to administer the poison. After falling violently ill, Litvinenko entered a hospital and was later diagnosed with radiation sickness before his death.

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