U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg)

U.S. Will Decide in `Near Future’ on Additional Russia Sanctions

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration will decide in the “near future” whether to impose additional sanctions against Russia amid escalating tensions between the two countries over meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and the conflict in Syria.

“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, caused a stir on Sunday with an announcement that proved erroneous. She said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that “you will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Steven Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn’t already.”

Haley said the fresh round of penalties would “go directly to any sorts of companies that were dealing with equipment” related to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his chemical weapons.

Relations between the U.S. and Russia have deteriorated after the Trump administration earlier this month imposed sanctions on dozens of Russian tycoons close to President Vladimir Putin over meddling in the 2016 election.

Together with the U.K. and France, the U.S. on Friday launched missile strikes on Syria. The Pentagon said the strikes hampered Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons again. President Donald Trump applauded the outcome as a “Mission accomplished.”

The U.S., Britain and France struck military positions and research facilities linked to chemical weapons in Damascus and Homs overnight to retaliate against their suspected use in an April 7 attack on a rebel-held suburb of the capital. The attack followed a similar, more limited, strike last year also meant to deter Assad from deploying chemicals.

Friday’s missile strike was limited, with analysts saying that it probably won’t have an immediate impact on the balance of power in Syria’s years-long civil war. The conflict, which has killed about half a million people, is increasingly drawing in regional and world powers -- and threatening to escalate.

The U.S. has told the United Nations that it is prepared to hit Assad again if necessary, a move that the U.K. is so far resisting.

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