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Russia calls fresh US sanctions "illegal"

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By Chris Pilcher
Russia calls fresh US sanctions "illegal"

Russia has condemned the fresh sanctions imposed by the US as illegal under international law.

It's left the Russian rouble at a two year low and the Kremlin unhappy after last month's Helsinki summit between Trump and Putin suggested improving relations between the powers.

At a press conference, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova says: "Talks (with Russia) from the positions of force and with an ultimative language are useless and have no prospects. Russia will start to work on retaliatory measures to respond to another unfriendly move by Washington. In this context, it’s bizzare to see the US administration also confirm their readiness for improving relations with Russia. It’s bare hypocrisy."

The sanctions against Vladimir Putin's Russia target US exports of sensitive goods relating to national security.

A second set of potentially more serious measures will be introduced only if Moscow fails to provide reliable assurances it will no longer use chemical weapons and blocks on-site inspections.

Washington's latest measures were imposed on Wednesday after it determined Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in the UK.

Moscow says its working on retaliatory measures "in the same spirit as any US restrictions."

President Trump had already moved to expell a hundred Russian diplomats from the US following the attack.