Amidst its deteriorating relations with Russia over the expulsion of diplomats and conducting joint missile strikes in Syria, the Donald Trump administration is considering the imposition of fresh economic sanctions against the Kremlin for supporting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons against his own countrymen.
The proposed sanctions came in the wake of the US-led airstrikes on Syria's chemical weapons facilities last Saturday, a week after Assad regime's alleged use of dangerous gas at Douma in Damascus suburbs to destroy the rebels' last bastion. Several people, including children, were killed in the attacks while many more were injured.
Trump called Assad "animal" and blasted Russia for supporting him. He said Assad and his allies would have to pay a "big price" for using chemical weapons and soon after, joint strikes were carried out by the US, UK and France.
The western powers called it a successful strike even though critics said the leaders of the three countries did it more to save themselves from the trouble in their respective domestic politics.
On Sunday, April 15, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told CBS in an interview that Russia of going "directly to any sort of companies" that dealt with equipment related to the Syrian president and use of chemical weapons.
She also backed the air strikes calling them a "strong message". Haley also said the US would never go for a one-to-one talk with Assad as it did not consider him worthy of that.
She said the international community would not allow chemical weapons to become a part of its daily life. She said Assad was making it a normal practice and Russia was busy covering it up. "All this has got to stop," Haley said in the interview.
Third round of sanctions in four weeks
According to a New York Times report, if the fresh round of sanctions is imposed, it will be the third time the Trump administration would be doing so against Russia in last one month.
In March, Russian firms and individuals were targeted for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election in the US and carrying on cyber attacks against the West.
It was followed by another round of sanctions whereby penalty was imposed against people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. They included some of Russia's richest men and top government personnel.