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The U.S. State Department said on August 8 that the sanctions were imposed following the use of the "novichok" nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate Skripal and his daughter.

In a statement Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. had made this decision on Monday, and accused Russian Federation of violating global law.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, are believed to have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok in the British town of Salisbury in March. In order to shore up the 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the draft legislation would also create an "Office of Sanctions Coordination" within the State Department to coordinate work with the Treasury.

The law requires the president to terminate arms sales, deny US credit and prohibit the export of sensitive technology to any country using chemical or biological weapons.

A State Department official Wednesday said the delay in issuing the sanctions did not reflect any hesitation on the part of the Trump administration.

Trump has not shied away from condemning the Skripal attack, but critics have questioned why it has taken the USA government so long to impose the new sanctions in response.

Russia's embassy in the United States called new USA sanctions draconian and said the reason for the new restrictions - allegations it poisoned a former spy and his daughter in Britain - were far-fetched.

Chinese exports accelerate even as Trump escalates trade war with further tariffs
Over the weekend, Trump told a rally he holds the advantage over China, adding playing hardball on trade is "my thing". The $16 billion taxed in the latest round brings the total amount of Chinese goods taxed up to $50 billion.

The sanctions are to take effect on or around 22 August, she stated.

In March, the Trump administration ordered 60 Russian diplomats - all of whom it said were spies - to leave the United States and closed down Russia's consulate in Seattle in response to the Skripal case.

Relations between Russia and the West hit a new low, and the United States was among UK allies that expelled Russian diplomats. British police scoured sections of Salisbury and Amesbury in southwest England, searching for a container feared to be contaminated with traces of the deadly nerve agent Novichok.

The Guardian this week reported the Government is set to submit an extradition request to Moscow for two Russians suspected of carrying out the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also pressed Trump to address the poisonings when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last month.

Rowley, like the Skripals, recovered from the attack but Ms Sturgess, his partner, died.