Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly issued a stern warning to his Russian counterpart that America will “hold Russia accountable” for its role in the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal.
Citing a statement from deputy State Department spokesman Robert Palladino, The Hill reported Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov there’d be penalties imposed as required by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act.
According to The Hill, Russia’s official statement of the conversation between the two diplomats, however, warned further sanctions would increase tensions between the two countries.
The United Kingdom, the United States and international observers have all blamed Russia for the March 2018 poisoning of Skripal and his daughter — both of whom were left gravely ill after exposure to a nerve agent near their home in Salisbury. Moscow had denied any involvement.
In the wake of the disturbing incident, Russian diplomats were ousted from the U.K., United States and other European nations.
The Hill pointed out that legally, a second wave of sanctions is automatically triggered unless Russia meets a number of strict criteria — including demonstrating that it’s no longer using chemical or biological weapons, and allowing for independent inspections.
The State Department alerted Congress last November that Moscow hadn’t complied with the requirements to avoid the second round of sanctions.
Nevertheless, the United States hasn’t formally announced any new sanctions since then.