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A police officer stands by a forensics tent as investigations continue into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in March. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The Trump administration has officially accused Russia of illegally using chemical weapons in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England earlier this year, thereby triggering fresh sanctions on the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Trump had been facing pressure to take this step from some Republicans in Congress, particularly after his widely-criticized summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. This is another instance in which the administration's actions stand in sharp contrast to Trump's friendly rhetoric toward the Kremlin.

The details: The first set of sanctions would immediately impose limits on exports and financing, which NBC News notes "may have limited impact, because it largely overlaps with other restrictions already in place, such as on selling arms to Russia."

  • The sanctions would prohibit the granting of licenses for the export certain goods to Russia, which a senior State Department official told NBC "could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in future exports to Russia."
  • "The second round of sanctions could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending state airline Aeroflot's ability to fly to the U.S, and cutting off nearly all exports and imports," per NBC News.
  • The Trump administration has already expelled 60 Russian diplomats over the attack, though Trump was reportedly annoyed that European allies took much more limited steps.

The Russian Embassy in Washington didn't immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

Go deeper

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden bombs with Manchin

Then-Vice President Joe Biden conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call

President Biden failed to persuade Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.

Biden blindsides Europe with new AUKUS alliance on China

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Biden is constructing and deepening new alliances to strengthen the U.S. position in its showdown with China, but he risks alienating longstanding allies in the process.

Why it matters: Biden heralded a new agreement to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines as part of a trilateral security pact with the U.K. and the U.S. as an "historic step" to update U.S. alliances to face new challenges. The message from French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was quite different.

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