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Haley: More sanctions against Russian Federation coming Monday

16 April 2018

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said earlier on Sunday that Washington was preparing new sanctions against Russian Federation over its support for Syrian President Bashar-al Assad.

In the fraught aftermath of the suspected attack in Douma and the West's response, Washington also prepared to increase pressure on Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main ally, with new economic sanctions.

Moscow brokered that agreement to forestall USA strikes in retaliation for an August 2013 chemical-weapons attack in a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds.

OPCW inspectors were visiting sites in Douma on Monday aiming to collect samples, interview witnesses and document evidence to determine whether banned toxic munitions were used.

NATO's East Stratcom Task Force reported, "Immediately after the reports of a suspected chemical attack in Syrian Douma appeared, Russian Federation reignited its disinformation campaign on the use of chemical weapons in Syria".

"If you look at what Russian Federation is doing, they continue to be involved with all the wrong actors, whether their involvement in Ukraine, whether you look at how they are supporting Venezuela, whether you look in Syria and their way of propping up Assad and working with Iran, that continues to be a problem", Haley said, adding that the use of a poisoning agent against a spy in England is "another issue".

After Britain and France joined the United States in missile salvoes meant to cripple Syrian chemical arms facilities and prevent their further use, Western leaders sought to emphasis diplomacy, with an European Union foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.

"Unfettered access (is) essential", the statement said.

According to Hamilton 68, a website set up by researchers working with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a transatlantic project set up to counter Russian disinformation campaigns - Syria is the leading hashtag on social media accounts identified as part of Russia-linked influence networks.

Also under consideration are companies that sell helicopters to Russian Federation, sources familiar with the matter said.

Mr Lavrov also questioned why the US, UK and France had carried out their retaliatory air strikes before OPCW inspectors were able to visit the site.

Trump tweeted "Mission Accomplished" on Saturday after US, French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles almost unopposed by Syrian air defences.

The U.S. -led strikes did nothing to alter the strategic balance or dent Assad's supremacy and the Western allies have said the aim was to prevent the further use of chemical weapons, not to intervene in the civil war or topple Assad. "[Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn't already and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use". "But it was the world saying that we've had enough of the use of chemical weapons".

"I think it's suspicious that those who spoke with Borodin the day before April 12 haven't been questioned", he said.

The Western leaders were also facing scrutiny at home over their actions.

"You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down", said Haley, reiterating what she said earlier on Fox News. The action, she added, came after diplomatic options had been exhausted.

Addressing the French parliament, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Saturday's operation had not been the "prelude to a war".

Haley: More sanctions against Russian Federation coming Monday