(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 10, 2018 Personnel in protective coveralls and breathing equipment work at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury, southern England, on March 10, 2018, in connection with the major incident sparked after a man and a woman were poisoned in a nerve agent attack. A British couple left critically ill in an English town were exposed to Novichok -- the same nerve agent used in the poisoning of a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the nearby city of Salisbury this year, police said on July 5, 2018. / AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS Image Credit: AFP

Washington: The US has slapped sanctions on Russia over the nerve agent attack in Britain in March, it was announced on Wednesday.

US TV network NBC reported that the first tranche of new US sanctions would ban licenses for export of sensitive national security goods to Russia.

The second sanctions tranche could downgrade diplomatic relations, suspend Russian flagcarrier Aeroflot's ability to fly to the US and cut nearly all exports and imports, according to the report.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the sanctions will go into effect around Aug. 22. 

The US determined "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," Nauert says.

Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed in the city of Salisbury on March 4 after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, both have since recovered.

Russia's currency, which was already facing its worst day against the US dollar since April, sank even further after the sanctions were announced.

The dollar touched its highest level against the ruble since November 2016. 

Nauert said: "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."