Dmitry Peskov
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Russian Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov
Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin, says the use of a Russian link to recent UK poisoning incidents to justify fresh US sanctions against the Kremlin is a violation of international law.
"In general, of course it's necessary to say that we consider it categorically unacceptable that the new restrictions, that we continue to consider unlawful, are associated with the Salisbury case," Peskov said in his Thursday interview with reporters.

"The association with these events is unacceptable for us. And we are convinced that such restrictions, together with the ones that the American side has imposed preemptively, are totally unlawful and contradict international law."

"Russia does not have, and it has never had, anything to do with chemical weapons' use, this is out of question. Moreover, we cannot confidently discuss what was used in Great Britain and how it was used because we have no information whatsoever. We have received no answers to our proposal to the British side to hold joint investigation into this incident that causes serious concern on our part," the Kremlin official added.
Peskov told reporters that he considered any speculation about the effect of sanctions on the Russian financial system unwarranted, because this financial system was very stable. He noted that this stability had been proven in previous standoffs and that the Russian authorities had taken deliberate measures to make the country's finances capable of withstanding the unpredictable behavior of "partners across the ocean."

He stressed that it was difficult to reconcile the latest unfriendly actions by the US with the atmosphere established during the recent summit between US President Donald Trump and Putin in Helsinki.

When reporters asked Peskov about a possible Russian response to new US measures, he insisted it was too early to discuss the issue because the official US statement and quotes in the media from certain high-ranking sources did not make clear Washington's official position.

Earlier, the US State Department announced the plans to impose new sanctions on Russia over its alleged role in the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK in March. The first package of sanctions is scheduled to come into effect on or around August 22 and will reportedly include a ban on exports of sensitive national security goods to Russia.

The second round of sanctions, which includes downgrading diplomatic relations, banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the US and cutting off nearly all exports and imports, will reportedly be imposed three months after the first one, unless Russian authorities provide "reliable assurances" that they won't use chemical weapons in the future and agree to "on-site inspections" by independent monitors.

Earlier today senior Russian lawmakers called the planned restrictions unfounded and likened Washington's behavior to actions of a police investigator who attempts to extract evidence from an innocent suspect using torture and threats.