US may impose sanctions on Russia

Background

In March 2018, Sergei Viktorovich Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer turned spy for Britain′s intelligence services, was attacked. He and his daughter were found unconscious after falling victims to what was subsequently revealed to be a chemical nerve agent called Novichok. In addition, three police officers who responded to the crime scene also required treatment for breathing difficulties.

Analysis

UK Prime Minister Theresa May stated that the nerve agent originated in Russia, and that it is “highly likely” that the Kremlin was behind the attack. Consequently, UK, US and a number of allies expelled over 100 Russian diplomats who had supposed intelligence links, from their soil. In retaliation, Russia expelled an equal number of US and UK diplomats.

The state department stated that, the proposed new sanctions will come into effect from 22 August. This would be followed by more measures, such as suspending diplomatic relations and revoking Aeroflot landing rights, if Russia does not take “remedial” action within 90 days.

According to a senior administration official, “the second round of sanctions … are in general more draconian than the first round.” A spokesperson from the UK foreign office expressed that, “The UK welcomes this further action by our US allies.”

Assessment

Our assessment is that Russia will continue to refute such charges and resist attempts to open up sites for inspection. We believe that it will be obligatory on the part of the US government under the provisions of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act 1991 to impose sanctions once it has determined the use of such  weapons.