The United States has imposed a set of sanctions on Russia due to the use of Novichok in the U.K. The sanctions, which will begin on Aug. 22, will restrict the national security-type goods, with the exception of some space materials and other aviation products. The sanctions would then be followed by harsher sanctions after another three months if Russia does not allow UN inspections in regards to their manufacturing of chemical weapons — particularly nerve agents.
Russia has objected to these sanctions. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s Press Secretary, said that, “Such moves are absolutely unfriendly and at odds with the constructive atmosphere present at the last meeting of presidents in Helsinki.” He is referring to the meeting between Russian President Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki in July.
These sanctions are in response to the nerve agent “Novichok” which was used in the attempt to assassinate Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal. Novichok is fairly exclusive to Russian production, not to mention Russia’s long-standing history of targeting defectors.
On top of the fact that it looks like Russia deliberately attempted to assassinate someone on U.K. soil with a deadly nerve agent, the same type of nerve agent later killed a UK citizen. Dawn Sturgess came into contact with the nerve agent, not knowing what it was or how it was used. Her boyfriend Charlie Rowley had found the agent, sealed off, and thought it was perfume — he gifted it to his girlfriend Sturgess, and both quickly became very sick. Sturgess died soon after, and Rowley became very sick, narrowly escaping with his life. The agent was concealed in a perfume bottle from a popular brand, according to Rowley.
This agent was found less than a 20 minute’s drive from where the Skripal attack occurred.
The UK was quick to openly condemn Russia for these attacks, and the U.S. also expelled 60 Russian officials in response. In regards to the Skripal attack, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that it was a “pretty obvious Russian use of a weapon of mass destruction, a chemical agent, for the first time in Europe since World War II.”
Featured image: Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses members of the Russian Congress at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Russian politicians are producing an unusual outpouring of bills, resolutions and new sanction proposals to push back at President Donald Trump’s approach to Putin. | AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, Pool