Medvedev: New US sanctions would be 'economic war'

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The U.S. State Department said Wednesday that Washington will impose new sanctions on Russia over the alleged poison attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the British city of Salisbury in March.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the action was aimed at punishing Russian President Vladimir Putin's government for having "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law".

But the punitive measures triggered a furious reaction from Moscow.

He said Moscow would take retaliatory measures if Washington targeted Russian banks. He said nerve agents and other "horrific" weapons must not become a new norm, and "states like Russian Federation that use or condone their use need to know there is a price to pay".

"If they dream up some (measures), we will answer - it's not our choice".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was equally emphatic. As CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett reports, the new sanctions were announced the same day Republican Sen.

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The announcement of USA sanctions caused the value of the rouble to plunge early on Thursday and Russian stock markets to fall.

In attempt to lift some pressure from the tanking rouble, the central bank cut its foreign currency buying on Wednesday.

"The United States needs to finally understand that it's useless to fight with Russian Federation, including with the help of sanctions", he said. "Now the two countries have even more grounds to work together", said Kotz.

The United States announced new measures on Wednesday targeting Russian Federation that pushed the rouble sharply lower and sparked a wider sell-off over fears Russian Federation was locked in a spiral of never-ending sanctions.

The new U.S. sanctions would cover sensitive national-security controlled goods, a senior State Department official told reporters.

"The categories covered by this could include things such as electronic, computers, sensors and lasers, telecommunications, specialised oil and gas production equipment and information and security technologies, just to name a few". "So linking these events is unacceptable to us, and just as with previous USA sanctions we believe are absolutely illegal and against worldwide law", Peskov told reporters.

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There could also be a second round of sanctions that would be "more draconian" than the first round, the officials said. There will also be some further restrictions on Russian access to United States financial services.

The United Kingdom blamed Russia for the attack, resulting in the expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from the U.K., USA and other allies. Washington expelled 60 diplomatic workers and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle. In particular, Moscow expelled 60 USA diplomats and closed the USA consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg.

Under the new sanctions, which will take effect in two weeks, requests by American companies to sell Russian Federation items with a potential national security objective will be automatically denied, with few exceptions.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said the sanctions would send "an unequivocal message to Russian Federation that its provocative, reckless behaviour will not go unchallenged".

Emma Burrows reported from Moscow and Judith Vonberg wrote in London.

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He said the new sanctions amount to "inflicting a punishment in the absence of a crime, in the tradition of lynch law".

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