WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued this statement in reaction to the announcement that the United States will impose new sanctions on Moscow in response to Russia’s use of a chemical weapon in an attempt to assassinate former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England this year:
“Russia’s use of chemical weapons in the attempted murder of former Russian intelligence officer on British soil was a brazen assault that directly contravenes the Chemical Weapons Convention, a fundamental pillar of international arms control efforts, and threatens our stalwart ally, the United Kingdom.
“Since the attack, I have repeatedly called on the Administration to seriously address Russia’s ongoing threats to international stability and security. In March, I along with five of my colleagues wrote President asking him to formally determine whether Russia violated international law through the use of chemical or biological weapons, and if so, to impose requisite mandatory sanctions.
“Similarly, in the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018, which I recently introduced with Senator Graham, we call for the Administration to take steps to pressure Russia to halt its efforts to undermine international efforts to combat the use of chemical weapons. Our bipartisan legislation affirms U.S. policy to support the mission of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate, identify, and hold accountable chemical weapons users.
“Unfortunately, Russia has been at the heart of the erosion of the international norm against the use of chemical weapons since 2012, both through its protection of Bashar Al Assad’s horrific chemical attacks against his own people in Syria, and now through its use of chemical agents on foreign land.
“I’m pleased to see today that under Congressional pressure, the Administration has now begun to implement the law and impose these critical sanctions. It is clear that Congressional pressure on the Administration to fully implement the law is vital.”