United Kingdom calls on European Union to aim sanctions at Moscow - USA

Jeremy Hunt and wife Lucia at Blenheim Palace for Donald Trump visit

Britain, the European Union, and the United States blame Russia for a nerve agent attack against a Russian double agent in Salisbury earlier this year.

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department said Washington would impose new sanctions on Russia around August 22 over the alleged poison attack on ex-Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia in the British city of Salisbury in March.

The Treasury Department is going after two companies and two Russians suspected of trying to circumvent USA sanctions imposed in June in response to cyberattacks and other malicious activities run by Moscow's military and spy services.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday it needed to understand if there was political will in Washington to cooperate with Russia as it prepared for a meeting between U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev.

"As for sanctions, these actions are counter-productive and pointless, especially towards a country like Russia", Putin told reporters in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"If you look at the actions of President Trump what you see is an approach to foreign policy that is different from his predecessors but is absolutely focused on upholding the global order", Hunt said. Although Trump himself has repeatedly cast doubt on Russia's culpability in 2016 election meddling, Mitchell and Billingslea both pointed to the Kremlin and Putin as the source.

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In a statement on the Russian foreign ministry's website, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the latest sanctions groundless and promised a response from Moscow. "I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us". Without the American measures, Moscow's behaviour would be further "off the charts", Mitchell said.

Putin also said Europe needed the Moscow-backed Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project, an initiative that Trump has harshly criticized, and that Russian Federation was the most suitable supplier of energy for Europe.

The Treasury Department sanctioned two Russian entities for aiding another Russian company, Divetechnoservices, that was sanctioned in June for providing underwater equipment and diving systems to Russia's domestic security service, the FSB. Moscow has repeatedly denied attempting to influence US elections, including the 2016 presidential vote that brought Trump into office. It also targeted two Russian shipping companies suspected of transferring petroleum products to North Korean vessels in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The Cabinet minister, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, praised the United States for implementing fresh sanctions against Moscow and said the European Union needed to "make sure we're matching that".

The sanctions freeze any assets they may have in USA jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them.

Treasury named Vladivostok, Russia-based shipping companies Primorye Maritime Logistics and Gudzon Shipping, the registered shipowners and managers of Russia-flagged merchant vessel Patriot.

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