The Trump administration said Wednesday it would impose more sanctions against Russia as punishment for its use of a nerve agent in an attempt in March to assassinate British citizen and ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
"The government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of worldwide law", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
The sanctions will take effect on or around August 22 - and come at a time when President Trump has been trying to improve relations between the USA and Russian Federation.
A senior State Department official said it had notified the Kremlin of the sanctions earlier in the day. The measures are scheduled to go into effect on or around August 22, according to the State Department.
'The strong worldwide response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russian Federation that its provocative, reckless behaviour will not go unchallenged'.
It would reportedly include more drastic measures, such as downgrading diplomatic relations, banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the United States and cutting off almost all exports and imports.
There would, however, be exemptions for space flight activities, government space cooperation, and areas covering commercial passenger aviation safety, which would be reviewed on a case by case basis, the official added.
London and its allies have accused Moscow of trying to kill the Skripals and says the two cases are likely linked.
Ahead of the announcement in Washington, the ruble took a hit and stocks fell in Moscow over rumours of new USA sanctions, which appeared to refer to the possible second round. But unless Russia agrees within 90 days to stop all use of chemical weapons and permit inspections to confirm their elimination, additionally mandated measures could cut off nearly all trade between the two countries, prohibit landing rights for Russian airlines, and lead to a suspension of diplomatic relations.
The White House said Trump provided "a letter of introduction" at Paul's request, and that the president "mentioned topics of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin".