RUSSIA has slammed the West for playing “prosecutor, judge and executioner” after the US slapped new sanctions on them over the Salisbury spy poisoning saga.
It furiously opposed what it branded the “draconian” new measures, imposed after Washington concluded the Kremlin behind the attack on ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Russia’s delegation to the international chemical weapons watchdog said: “Collective West in the so-called Novichok drama acts as a prosecutor, judge and hangman at the same time.
“Why should [Russia] prove its innocence and not the other way round?” it wrote on its official Twitter account.
The Russian embassy in Washington accused the US of running a “sanctions assembly line” following the surprise announcement by the State Department yesterday.
It went on to say the US action was “absolutely unlawful” but played down the prospect of immediate tit-for-tat measures.
The sanctions came just weeks after Donald Trump spoke of his respect for Vladimir Putin at their meeting in Helsinki.
Unusually, there was no immediate comment by the US president, who has been heavily critical of the investigation into Russian interference in the election.
Under US law, Washington must act if it turns out that Russia did use chemical or biological weapons.
State Department officials said the sanctions, due to come into force on August 22, are expected to include an export ban on sensitive national security technology and goods.
More could follow if Russia cannot prove it is no longer using chemical weapons or provide “reliable assurances” it will not do so in future.
According to US reports, they could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending flights to the US by state airline Aeroflot and cutting off many exports and imports.
In its statement, the Russian Embassy in Washington accused the US of failing to provide any justification for the action.
It said: “We grew accustomed to not hearing any facts or evidence.
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The American side refused to answer our follow-up questions, claiming that the information is classified.
“However, we were told that the US has enough intel to conclude that Russia is to blame.”
In Moscow, Mr Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said they were still waiting for official notification from the US authorities.
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