"As you well know, we don’t forecast sanctions. We have complied with the law in announcing those sanctions just yesterday, and we will comply with the law going forward, of course, as we always would," she said.
Asked whether the State Department has any reason to think that Russians are going to allow inspections to make sure that they’re not using chemical weapons, which is a requirement for Russia to avoid further sanctions, Nauert said: "That’s asking us to look into the future, and we don’t know what the future holds. I think that’s a hypothetical question, so I don’t have an answer for you."
"We’d like to have a better relationship with the Russian Government, recognizing that we have a lot of areas of mutual concern. It is a major country; we are a major country as well. And so when you have that, you are forced to have to have conversations with other governments. And sanctions is a way that we can try to encourage better behavior on the part of government. Now, I’m speaking in a broad-based sense, but that’s one way that we can encourage better behavior," the spokesperson explained.
One of the reporters asked the spokesperson to give the journalists some global sense of what these sanctions are trying to achieve from an American foreign policy perspective.
"We approach every country very differently. Every country that we have a relationship or even countries that we don’t have relationships with are viewed through a separate lens. So what may be appropriate for one country is maybe not necessarily appropriate for another country," she said.
As reported, the Trump administration is going punish Russia with sanctions for poisoning an ex-spy living in Britain with a chemical weapon, the State Department said Wednesday.
A senior State Department official said Russia, along with U.S. allies, was informed of the new sanctions on Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the sanctions will go into effect around Aug. 22: "Following the use of a 'Novichok' nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, the United States, on August 6, 2018, determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals. Following a 15-day Congressional notification period, these sanctions will take effect upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register, expected on or around August 22, 2018."
The U.S. would be willing to impose a second set of sanctions on Russia three months later, a senior State Department official said Wednesday, unless Russia can prove it has met certain criteria.
Those include no longer using chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law and allowing on-site inspections by the U.N., as well as providing other reliable assurances, the senior official said.
Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, remain critically ill in hospital, after they were found unconscious on a bench in the Wiltshire city on March 4. The UK government says they were poisoned with a nerve agent of a type developed by Russia called Novichok and PM Theresa May said she believed Moscow was "culpable."
UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats as part of a "full and robust" response – prompting Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to say it will "certainly" expel British diplomats in response.
On March 16, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance had "no reason to doubt the findings and assessments by the British government" which suggested Russian responsibility. He said the "UK is not alone" and Nato allies gave "strong political support" to Britain, following a joint statement from the US, France and Germany backing Mrs May's government and a pledge of support from Australia.
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said that the U.K.'s government believes that it was likely Putin's decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the U.K.
On March 26, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians from the United States, including 12 people identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations in New York.