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The administration has imposed fresh sanctions on Russia in retaliation for the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March.

They were aimed at punishing Putin's government for having "used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law", spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"We believe linking new [U.S.] restrictive measures, which we continue to consider illegitimate, to the Salisbury case is totally unacceptable", Peskov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS, referring to the suspected poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom.

The new sanctions were to take effect following a 15-day Congressional notification period, she said.

If Russia was brazen enough to kill with a chemical weapon on British soil, could it happen in the United States? As the Trump administration punishes Moscow with more sanctions, the U.S.is taking a renewed look at how best to protect Russian defectors, dissidents and other émigrés, as well as how to respond if a military-grade nerve agent were ever deployed on American soil.

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Experts say Russian Federation is unlikely to meet those requirements, but it's also hard to imagine the Trump administration cutting diplomatic ties with Russian Federation in three months.

On Wednesday, Russia's Kommersant daily published excerpts from another piece of draft United States legislation which proposes a ban on United States citizens purchasing Russian sovereign debt as well as steps against the country's biggest banks as well as its oil and gas sector, a key driver of the economy.

Even as rumors of impending new sanctions swirled in the media, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul - a supporter of Trump's efforts to engage Russia - announced he had delivered a letter from President Trump to Putin during meetings with Russian officials in Moscow earlier this week. They recovered after weeks of treatment.

Senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, accused the US of behaving like a 'police state, threatening and torturing a suspect to get evidence'. The Russian government has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack.

The U.S. said at the time it was the largest expulsion of Russian spies in American history.

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"The UK welcomes this further action by our USA allies", a spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said in a statement.

The Skripals survived but one of two people poisoned by the same Novichok agent in a nearby town, 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess, subsequently died.

Last month, British Prime Minister Theresa May urged Trump to raise the issue of the poisonings when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, although it remained unclear whether the subject came up in their talks.

The US announcement fuelled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible effect of more US sanctions on Russian assets and the rouble slid by over 1 per cent on Thursday against the dollar, a day after falling towards its lowest level in almost two years.

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