Months after Britain alleged that the Russian government carried out nerve-agent attacks in Salisbury, the Trump Administration has announced a new round of sanctions against Russia, aimed to punish them for the incident.
The Novichok poisoning incident was claimed by Britain’s government, but contested by Russia. There was never conclusive evidence to support the claims Russia was behind it. At the time, the US expelled a number of Russian diplomats, that too nominally over the poisonings.
Britain was quite happy with the expulsions back in March, and unsurprisingly was quick to endorse the new US sanctions as a “strong international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury.”
Yet the US has never answered the question of how it decided to accept Britain’s allegations without evidence. It’s also not clear why the US decided to wait five months after the expulsions to impose the sanctions. Still, sanctioning Russia happens so often the US doesn’t often need much excuse on timing or pretext.