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US to sanction Russia over Skripal attack

Members of the emergency services pictured at work following the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England

Washington, Aug 09 (UITV/IANS) - The US has said it will impose fresh sanctions on Russia after determining it used nerve agent against a former Russian double agent living in the UK.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury in March. The attack left them seriously ill, but they recovered after several weeks of hospital treatment.

A UK investigation blamed Russia for the attack, but the Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the US state department confirmed it was implementing measures against Russia over the incident, BBC reported.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it had been determined that the country "has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals."

The British government has welcomed the move.

"The strong international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behaviour will not go unchallenged," a UK foreign office statement said.

The new sanctions will take effect on or around 22 August, and relate to the exports of sensitive electronic components and other technologies.

The state department said "more draconian" sanctions will follow within 90 days if Russia fails to give reliable assurances it will no longer use chemical weapons and allow on-site inspections by the United Nations.