Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commended the U.S. administration’s response to last year’s chemical attack in the United Kingdom, which was established to have been carried out by Russia, even though the United States has still not imposed new sanctions in response.
“After the chemical weapons attack that took place here in Salisbury, along with our other allies, we pushed back, we punished Russia with important sanctions,” Pompeo stressed, adding that the U.S. sought to show the world that “the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by nations like ours who value the rule of law.”
Following the attack in Salisbury on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal on March 4, 2018, the international community concluded that Russia had poisoned the two with VX nerve agent.
As a result, the United States carried out a series of actions to punish Russia for the attack, including expelling 60 of the country’s diplomats from the U.S. and slapping Moscow with economic sanctions. It then gave the country three months to certify to the US that it is no longer using chemical weapons, and allow inspectors in to prove it, threatening a fresh batch of sanctions otherwise.
CNN reports that the State Department determined in November 2018 that Russia had not met the conditions but did not announce a new round of sanctions. Instead, the department said it was “consulting with Congress regarding next steps as required.”
Half a year later, the second batch of sanctions is yet to be imposed, the outlet adds.
A State Department spokesperson defended the inaction, saying there was “no deadline for imposing sanctions. We are in compliance with the law.”
Earlier this year, it was also reported that the department was not consulting with Congress, which prompted a group of bipartisan senators to introduce a massive bill to counter the Russian action.