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US weighing more sanctions against Russia: White House

Muslim Times (Web Desk) – The administration of US President Donald Trump is considering additional economic sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s support of the Syrian government following a suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus, according to the White House.

“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday.

However, Sanders did not say why more sanctions would be imposed and said the Trump administration has not made a decision yet on the financial penalties.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Sunday that Washington was preparing new sanctions on Moscow over its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Haley also said the United States would not pull American troops out of Syria until its goals were accomplished.

She listed three goals for the US: ensuring that chemical weapons are not used in any way that pose a risk to American interests, that the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group is defeated and that there is a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow would not delay its response to new US sanctions.

Ryabkov said that Russia’s lower house of parliament was considering legislation that would give the Kremlin the power to restrict US imports.

Russia and Syria have both denied any use of chemical weapons by the government of Assad in the Arab country’s conflict against foreign-backed militants.

The United States imposed sanctions on 24 Russians earlier this month over what American intelligence agencies claim was Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Moscow has denied any collusion.

Washington has said it had proof that Syrian government forces conducted a deadly chemical weapons attack on April 7, without providing any evidence.

The Syrian government surrendered its chemical weapons stockpile in 2014 during a process monitored by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

US President Donald Trump tweeted “Mission Accomplished” on Saturday after US, French and British military aircraft and warships launched more than 100 cruise missiles inside Syria over the suspected poison gas attack.

The strike has drawn global outcry since it was carried out before the international chemical weapons watchdog could probe the incident.

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