The Russian Embassy in Washington says new U.S. sanctions on Russia are based on “far-fetched accusations” of Russian responsibility for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain in March.
“We grew accustomed to not hearing any facts or evidence,” the embassy said in a statement. It further said the United States did not answer Russia’s questions about the evidence in the case, and that Russia supports a transparent investigation of what happened.
The U.S. State Department announced the sanctions Wednesday, saying Russia broke international law by using a lethal nerve agent against its own nationals. The measures are set to take effect August 22 and generally involve U.S. licenses for exporting sensitive national security goods to Russia, such as electronics.
WATCH: US Imposes New Sanctions on Russia for Poisoning Former Russian Spy in Britain
A policeman found Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, slumped on a bench and unconscious in the British city of Salisbury. They were sickened by Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. Both survived but spent weeks in the hospital.
Russia has denied any involvement in the poisonings.
More sanctions possible
A senior State Department official said Wednesday that Russia could face another round of “more Draconian” sanctions within 90 days unless it provides “reliable assurances” it is no longer using chemical or biological weapons.
The sanctions announced Wednesday are mandatory, triggered by a 1991 law, The Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act.
Britain welcomes US move
The British Foreign Office said it welcomes the U.S. sanctions.
“The string of international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behavior will not go unchallenged,” it said in a statement.
Russia also denied having anything to do with the June poisoning of a British couple near Salisbury who picked up a bottle that also contained Novichok, which left 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess dead. Her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, survived.
British officials have told reporters they have identified at least two suspects in the Skripal attack. Newspaper reports say the two are in Russia, and Britain is getting ready to ask for their extradition.
VOA’s Arya Hodjat and Jamie Dettmer contributed to this report.