U.S. weighing more sanctions against Russia: White House

U.S. weighing more sanctions against Russia: White House

The confused announcement and walk-back outlined in the report came just days after the USA, along with the United Kingdom and France, ordered strikes on Syrian facilities in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack and as the Trump administration has ramped up criticism of Russian Federation for its support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

After Haley's comments, Team Trump reached out to the Russian Embassy in Washington and reassured them that the sanctions were not coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

That decision ran counter to US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haleys comments on Sunday.

Haley said the measures would target companies that supplied Damascus with equipment and other material related to chemical weapons, which killed more than 40 people in Douma on April 7 and prompted US-led airstrikes.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday that the administration is "considering additional sanctions on Russian Federation, and a decision will be made in the near future".

The Trump administration on Monday appeared to have reconsidered immediately imposing new sanctions on Russian Federation that would have targeted companies providing the Syrian regime with military equipment or material for chemical weapons.

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Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, said, "I think the words crippled and degraded are good words".

Ms Haley also made it clear that the United States will not be pulling troops out of Syria right away, saying U.S. involvement there "is not done".

White House officials said Trump has been impressed with Haley lately, particularly her remarks about Syria over the past week, and stressed Monday that the president holds her in high regard. After Haley's comments, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that the sanctions were a US ploy to oust Russian Federation from worldwide markets and constituted "undisguised attempts of unfair competition". "We still do not see these sanctions as lawful".

Peskov added, "Certainly, this can not have any relation to and can not be motivated by considerations of the situation in Syria or any other country".

If the US sanctions are enacted, they will be the second such batch in just over a year against Syria's weapons of mass destruction programme. Russia, one top lawmaker promised, was going to "hit the Americans in the gut". He said the proposal will also be sent to the government and Kremlin for their views, as well as those of "the expert community".

Troianovski reported from Moscow.

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