UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Sunday said the United States is preparing to impose new economic sanctions on Moscow for its ongoing support for the Assad regime despite its repeated use of chemical weapons.
Both Russia and the Assad regime deny involvement in the chemical attack that killed over 40 people in a rebel-held town near Damascus on April 7th.
“We’re letting Russia know this is not something that we want to be a part of,” Haley told Fox News. “It’s not something we’re going to tolerate and they’ve got to make a decision. Right now, they don’t have very good friends, and right now, the friends that they do have are causing harm.”
The new sanctions will target “any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,” said Haley. The details will be announced Monday by Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin.
“The international community will not allow chemical weapons to come back into our everyday life,” continued Haley. “The fact he was making this more normal and that Russia was coving this up, all that has got to stop.”
News of the sanctions came two days after the US, France, and the UK launched a coordinated missile strike on three chemical weapons facilities in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a key Assad ally, condemned the missile strike as an “act of aggression” which would “have a destructive effect” on relations.
Russian officials on Saturday brought a draft resolution to the UNSC calling for members to condemn the strike as a “violation of international law and the UN Charter.” The council rejected the proposal, with only China, Russia, and Bolivia voting in favor.
Russia in the past has vetoed at least six UNSC resolutions regarding chemical weapons. These vetos have been a source of contention between Russia and Washington.
Ambassador Haley on Sunday also confirmed that America’s work in Syria “is not done” and said the US is “locked and loaded” should the Assad regime decide to use chemical weapons again. Her words made it clear that President Trump no longer intends on pulling US troops out of Syria, as he suggested on April 3rd.
During a televised debate Sunday evening, French President Emmanual Macron seemed to take credit for keeping Trump involved in Syria. “Ten days ago, President Trump was saying that the US would disengage from Syria,” said Macron. “We convinced him that it was necessary to stay there long-term.”
In response to questions about the legality of the missile strike, Macron insisted it was a matter of “international legitimacy” rather than legality. The goal of the mission was to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons in the future without declaring war on the Assad regime or causing direct conflict with Russia.