US Punishes Russia for UK Attack

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Russian assets are hit hard by U.S. announcement, with the ruble dropping as much as 5%

Russian officials and companies were bracing for further economic pain Thursday, as the U.S. decision to punish the Kremlin for an alleged nerve-agent attack in the U.K. diminished hopes of a bilateral thaw.

The ruble registered the steepest daily decline in almost two years, losing as much as 5% against the dollar since the State Department said Wednesday it would impose new sanctions on Russia later this month over the incident. Russian blue-chip stocks plunged as much as 9%, led by state banks and national airline Aeroflot, which risk losing access to U.S. markets if the sanctions are deepened.

The Kremlin on Thursday denied playing any role in the attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in southern England earlier this year, while playing down the importance of the sanctions. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Russia remains committed to building “constructive relations with the U.S.” and wouldn’t draft countermeasures before learning the full details.

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