WASHINGTON: The United States will impose new sanctions on Russia over an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said today.
Haley said the sanctions, to be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, would target companies that supplied Damascus with equipment and other material related to chemical weapons.
"You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down.
Secretary (Steve) Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn't already," Haley said in an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation.
" "They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use," she said.
The move follows air strikes by US, French and British forces in retaliation for an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack on April 7 in Douma, a rebel-held town near Damascus where more than 40 people were killed.
US military officials said the air strikes early Saturday in Syria took out "the heart" of Syria's residual chemical weapons capability.
The strikes sought to avoid contact with Russian forces in the country to support Assad's regime.
But US officials have blamed Russia for failing to rein in its Syrian ally, as the guarantor of a 2013 agreement to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons.
That agreement was brokered by Moscow to avert retaliatory US strikes in the wake of a sarin attack in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus on August 21, 2013 that reportedly killed more than 1,400 civilians.
"I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message and our hope is that they listen to it," Haley said of this week's air strikes.
"With the political and diplomatic actions that we're taking now, we wanted their friends Iran and Russia to know that we meant business and that they were going to be feeling the pain from this as well," she said.