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Lawmakers Introduce New Sanctions Against Russia for Poison Attack

Bipartisan bill aims to punish Russia for March incident in UK

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. lawmakers are pushing for a new sanctions bill against Russia that aims to punish the Kremlin for perpetrating a poison attack on United Kingdom soil last month.

Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas and GOP Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio introduced the sanctions during a Thursday pro forma session of the House.

Castro and Turner both sit on the House Intelligence Committee, and Turner is the chairman of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

“The Russian government-sanctioned attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Officer Nick Bailey last month on British soil violated international law and indicates [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s growing aggression and disregard for international standards of conduct,” Turner and Castro said in a joint statement Friday.

“It’s imperative that the United States stands with the United Kingdom and our international partners in signaling resolve with a strong response,” the lawmakers said.

The Skripals were found unconscious on a park bench March 4 in Salisbury, England.

Doctors and investigators discovered the poison used in the attack was Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by Soviet scientists for use on North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops, and that Russia had sanctioned the attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the following week.

Russia has denied any involvement in the attack despite what western leaders have said is overwhelming evidence.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, called the allegations against the Kremlin a “fake story” Thursday at a Security Council meeting.

“We have told our British colleagues that they are playing with fire, and they will be sorry,” Nebenzia said.

Turner and Castro’s sanctions bill re-ups measures taken to disrupt the Russian Central Bank and Russian Treasury and hinder the business of other Russian banks and financial institutions.

It also asks the president to identify any Russian officials who knew about the poison attack in Salisbury.

The Trump administration imposed new sanctions Friday on Russian oligarchs and top government officials, even as the president continues with only reserved criticism of President Vladimir V. Putin.

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