US to impose new sanctions on Russia in wake of Syria chemical attack

Washington will impose new sanctions on Russia, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has said – as Western allies look to put some diplomatic clout behind military strikes launched on Syria in the wake of an apparent chemical weapon attack.
“Russian sanctions will be coming down,” Haley said during on appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation, adding that the new sanctions are expected to be announced by treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin on Monday.
It comes as the US, UK and France – who took part in the retaliatory strikes – push a draft resolution ahead of a meeting of the UN’s Security Council, also on Monday, which includes a proposal for an independent investigation into alleged chemical weapons attacks that identifies those responsible.
Both the Syrian government and its ally Russia have denied involvement in the chemical attack, which occurred in the Syrian town of Douma and is believed to have killed dozens of civilians. Moscow has suggested that allegations over the attack are false, as well as claiming it was coordinated by Britain.
The US and France have both said they have proof Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was behind the chemical weapon use.
The UN resolution forms part of a wider strategy to enforce the elimination of chemical weapons, which the US says Russia has repeatedly failed to do despite being the guarantor of a 2013 deal to achieve that. The resolution also calls for action over the wider civil war in Syria, such as allowing medical evacuations and aid convoys, and the enforcement of a ceasefire.
The draft resolution will put pressure on Moscow, with US sanctions looking to achieve the same effect.
“Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already, and they will be going directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,” Haley said.