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The Trump administration's decision to impose further sanctions against Russia following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom earlier this year is "categorically unacceptable" and "illegal", according to President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov. One of the hardest hit was Aeroflot, the Russian state airline, which could lose its ability to fly to the United States as a possible outcome of the new sanctions. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the initiative's sponsors, says one of the draft legislation's goals is to impose "crushing sanctions".

"Following a 15-day Congressional notification period, these sanctions will take effect upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register, expected on or around August 22, 2018".

The announcement fueled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible impact of more USA sanctions on Russian assets and the rouble at one point slid by over 1% on Thursday against the dollar, hitting a two-year low.

An official said it was only the third time that the U.S. had determined a country had used chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals.

The move could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars worth of exports to Russian Federation, said the official, who requested anonymity in order to speak about the sanctions.

The U.S. announcement fueled already worsening investor sentiment about the possible effect of more U.S. sanctions on Russian assets and the rouble slid by over 1 percent on Thursday against the dollar, a day after falling toward its lowest level in almost two years.

Russia's government slammed as "unacceptable" on Thursday new USA sanctions against Moscow.

The United States is imposing tough new sanctions on Russia after determining Moscow was responsible for poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain in March. That could include the USA withdrawing support for worldwide loans and US bank loans, blocking Russian airlines from landing in the US, and suspending diplomatic relations. He added that the new sanctions amount to "inflicting a punishment in the absence of a crime in the tradition of lynch law". Skripal was a former Russian spy who worked as a double agent for British intelligence.

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The United Kingdom welcomed the move from the U.S. on Wednesday.

When asked Thursday about the possibility of a ban on Aeroflot, Peskov labelled the U.S. administration an "unpredictable participant in worldwide affairs", adding "you can now expect anything".

While criticized as too keen to strike up a friendship with Putin, Trump maintains that he's been tough on Moscow.

Prices steadied a little on Thursday, with USA crude edging down 13 cents to $66.80 per barrel and Brent flat at $72.27.

The Russian diplomats also said in their statement that they had outlined the official position on the United Kingdom poisoning incidents in official letters to the US State Department and continue to insist on an open and transparent investigation that would end in bringing the culprits to justice.

Earlier Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement explaining the sanctions.

There would be exemptions for space flight activities as well as areas covering commercial passenger aviation safety, the official added.