Russia 'is ready for economic war with US' over sanctions

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The Kremlin on Thursday branded as "unacceptable" new U.S. sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in a nerve agent attack on a former spy, as the ruble and Russian stocks tumbled.

On Wednesday the U.S. State Department announced its intention to impose new sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in March in the southern English city of Salisbury.

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.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova leading a briefing, February 10, 2016.

"If they dream up some (measures), we will answer - it's not our choice".

But the declaration brings into effect sanctions limiting exports to Russian Federation and the financing of deals.

However, he added that "Moscow retains hopes of building constructive relations with Washington".

The US move also triggered a sell-off in Russian government bonds and the dollar-denominated RTS index fell to its lowest since April 11. The markets and the currency rebounded slightly over the day while remaining sharply down.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the government and central bank had the tools to maintain financial stability and would use them if necessary.

"This sort of decision by the American side is an absolutely unfriendly act", Peskov said Thursday.

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"In practice this will mean we are imposing a "presumption of denial" upon export licences for USA -origin national security-sensitive goods and technology to any Russian state-owned or state-funded enterprise", the official said in a conference call with reporters.

Under the terms of the sanctions, any attempt by a USA company to obtain an export licence to sell anything with a potential national security objective - gas turbine engines, electronics, integrated circuits and testing and calibration equipment - will be automatically denied.

Such technologies have often been used in items including electronic devices as well as calibration equipment. Waivers have been issued for foreign assistance and space flight activities, while commercial passenger aviation and other commercial goods for civilian use will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, according to the official who briefed reporters.

While Kremlin spokesman Peskov suggested the Kremlin was still weighing how to respond to the sanctions, other Russian officials were less circumspect. These could go as far as a ban on Russian airlines using U.S. airports.

President Trump had already moved to expell a hundred Russian diplomats from the USA following the attack.

Trump also ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians, including 12 identified as intelligence officers, and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.

The sanctions are mandated by a USA law that requires action over the use of chemical and biological weapons-but President Trump maintains significant discretionary power over the degree of that punishment.

Russia's economy had demonstrated it was stable in the face of past sanctions, as well as fluctuations in the oil price, he said in a statement.

Reports earlier this week that the United Kingdom was preparing to request the extradition of two Russians it suspected of being behind the attack were found to be less advanced than initially suggested, Sky sources said.

On June 30, a British couple were poisoned by Novichok in a nearby town - 44-year-old mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess subsequently died.

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