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US announces new sanctions against Russia over Skripal affair: State dept

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A new round of sanctions were imposed on Moscow Saturday by the United States over the 2018 poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom.

Russian spies have been blamed for the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March last year using the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok.

The two survived the attack but a British woman later died after her partner picked up a discarded perfume bottle investigators believe was used to carry the Novichok.

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Washington said Saturday it will oppose “the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance to Russia” by international financial institutions and put limits on US banks from purchasing Russian sovereign debt, US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The US will also limit the export of goods and technology to Russia that could be used in the country’s chemical and biological arms programs, Ortagus said.

She added that the measures could prevent Russia from accessing “billions of dollars of bilateral commercial activity with the United States”.

The sanctions will come into effect following a 15 day congressional notification period — around August 19 — and will remain in place for a minimum 12 months, according to the US State Department.

The Salisbury attack, the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II, caused an international outcry and prompted a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats by Western nations including the US.

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London says the attempted assassination was “almost certainly” approved by Moscow and that Russians Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun were behind the killing.

However the pair have never been tried and Lugovoi has since become a lawmaker in Russia.

Moscow denies involvement in the poisoning and has offered numerous and varied alternative explanations and counter-accusations.

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In January the European Union imposed chemical weapons sanctions on nine Russian and Syrian officials, including the chief of the powerful GRU military intelligence agency.

Skripal, a former officer with the GRU, was found guilty in 2006 of “high treason” before being traded in a spy exchange between Moscow, London and Washington.

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REVEALED: Bolton urged House Dems to investigate Ukraine ambassador’s firing two days before impeachment launched

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Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) blew up President Donald Trump's claims that John Bolton kept his concerns about Ukraine to himself.

The New York Democrat, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, revealed Wednesday that Bolton urged him "unprompted" in September to look into the ousting of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Why didn’t John Bolton complain about this “nonsense” a long time ago, when he was very publicly terminated. He said, not that it matters, NOTHING!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020

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‘The president is afraid’: Historian tells CNN that Trump’s attempt to block Bolton’s book is an epic blunder

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Historian Timothy Naftali, a clinical associate professor of public service at New York University, told a CNN panel on Wednesday that President Donald Trump's attempt to block former national security adviser John Bolton from publishing his book would be a massive political blunder.

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The View’s Meghan McCain sparks instant clash over impeachment conviction votes

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"The View" co-host Meghan McCain sparked an instant clash by gloating over Democratic senators signaling they were open minded on convicting President Donald Trump.

The conservative co-host cited a report that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was considering acquittal -- the senator and another reporter claimed was an inaccurate account of her remarks -- and kept on going.

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