THE Trump administration has imposed further sanctions on Russia in retaliation for the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury last March.

The new measures mean any American company trying to obtain an export license to sell anything with a potential national security purpose will be automatically denied.

That includes gas turbine engines, electronics, integrated circuits and testing and calibration equipment.

Further sanctions will be introduced in three months if Russia fails to prove that it is no longer using chemical weapons.

The ruble fell sharply on the news, hitting its lowest point against the dollar in two years. Moscow said they would “work on developing retaliatory measures”.

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt took to Twitter to thank the Americans: “If we are going to stop chemical and biological weapons – including nerve agents – becoming a new and horrific 21st [century] norm states like Russia that use or condone their use need to know there is a price to pay.

“Thank you USA for standing firm with us on this.”

The sanctions were imposed under the provisions of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, which forces the government to impose the measures once they have determined that a country has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or even made “substantial preparations” to do so.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy turned double agent who became a British citizen, and his daughter Yulia, were hospitalised after coming into contact with Novichok, a nerve agent said to be kept under tight control by the Russian authorities.

The UK Government said they suspected Putin’s regime were behind the chemical attack.

Both the Skripals survived, but Dawn Sturgess died in hospital a week after she and her partner Charlie Rowley were inadvertently exposed to Novichok last month.

A murder inquiry was launched after Sturgess’s death.

Rowley has said he found a sealed bottle of perfume and gave it to his partner, who sprayed the substance on her wrists.

The Trump administration’s initial response to the attempted poisoning of the Skripals was surprisingly strong. The US expelled 60 Russian diplomats, more than any of the other 24 Western countries who kicked out suspected spies.

Russia responded with a similar number of diplomatic expulsions and ordered the closure of the United States Consulate in St Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.

The new sanctions are expected to come into effect on August 22. American officials said there will still be some exceptions, including equipment for sending goods and people to the International Space Station.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “Whatever the sanctions against Russia are, the retaliatory measures will be the same.

“If they dream up some [measures], we will answer -- it’s not our choice.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was equally emphatic.

“We consider categorically unacceptable the linking of new restrictions, which we as before consider illegal, to the case in Salisbury,” he told journalists.

He said Moscow felt it could now “expect anything at all from Washington” but nevertheless retained “hopes of building constructive relations”.

This week, it was reported that the Foreign Office were to ask Moscow to extradite two Russians suspected of carrying out the Salisbury attack.

The announcement of the sanctions by the US State Department came three and a half weeks after Trump and Putin held a lengthy meeting in Finland.

Trump did not tweet about the sanctions yesterday – instead his social media activity was an attack on the investigation into the possible Russian collusion in his election campaign.