The U.S. announced a new round of sanctions on Russia in response to the March assassination attempt of a former Russian spy and his daughter in rural England. The new measures, which are expected to go into effect on Aug. 22, target the export of dual-use technologies that could potentially serve a national security purpose, including engines and electronics, a move that could halve America’s $7 billion in yearly exports to Russia, a Trump administration official told the New York Times. In addition to the sanctions, the measure imposes further requirements on the Kremlin, including a clear indication within 90 days that Russia is no longer using chemical or biological weapons, as well as access for international inspectors to check compliance.
According to the State Department, the move comes in response to the United States’ determination Monday that “the Government of the Russian Federation [-] has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals.” The sanctions are a significant and public vote of confidence in the U.K.’s investigation of the use of the Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, England, in March. The British government fingered Moscow as responsible for the attack on former Russian spy and current British citizen Sergei Skripal along with his daughter Yulia Skripal, but investigators haven’t released definitive findings of their ongoing investigation into the poisoning. In the immediate aftermath of the poisoning, Western allies expelled Russian diplomats, including 60 from the U.S., a move Russia countered with like-expulsions. Both Skripals survived the attack, but Russia denied responsibility, blaming anyone and everyone, including the British government, while fomenting online conspiracy theories and false equivalencies as part of its information misdirection effort.