However the sanctions announcement could bolster U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that his administration is taking a tough stance on Moscow, even as he continues to denounce as a "witch hunt" an independent probe into whether his election campaign colluded with Russian Federation.
The sanctions were imposed under the provisions of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, which mandates that once the government has determined that a country has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of global law or even made "substantial preparations" to do so, sanctions must be imposed.
As a volatile day unfolded in Moscow, response from Washington was muted.
"If they dream up some (measures), we will answer - it's not our choice".
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was equally emphatic.
He said Moscow felt it could now "expect anything at all from Washington" but nevertheless retained "hopes of building constructive relations".
The second round of sanctions could cut far deeper, including blocking all American bank loans to Russian entities, an outright ban on U.S. exports to Russia, and suspension of diplomatic relations.
The government said Thursday it has begun working on ways to answer the measures.
Russia's embassy in the United States said Washington's findings against it in the Skripal case were not backed by evidence.
According to the State Department, those sanctions will include the presumed denial of export licenses for Russian Federation to purchase many items with national security implications.
There would, however, be exemptions for space flight activities, government space cooperation, and areas covering commercial passenger aviation safety, which would be reviewed on a case by case basis, the official added. Analysts described the Russian market as stunned by the weight of the new sanctions. There will also be some further restrictions on Russian access to USA financial services.
If Russia does not meet three criteria - ending its use of such weapons, assuring the USA that it has no plans to use them again, and offering to let global observers verify that - then there will be a second, harsher round of sanctions in 90 days. Royce had previously accused Trump of ignoring the Russian nerve agent attack.
Moscow ordered 60 American diplomats expelled in a tit-for-tat response.
United States and European allies have publicly blamed the Kremlin for attempting to kill the two in the British town of Salisbury using a Novichok nerve agent, a claim Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied.
"I would not like to comment on talk about future sanctions, but I can say one thing: If something like a ban on the operations of banks or on the one currency or another follows, it would be possible to completely directly call it a declaration of economic war", Medvedev said during a visit to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East.
Reports earlier this week that the United Kingdom was preparing to request the extradition of two Russians it suspected of being behind the attack were found to be less advanced than initially suggested, Sky sources said.
Two more people - Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley - were subsequently treated for exposure to novichok after Ms Sturgess reportedly picked up a discarded perfume bottle thought to have contained the agent.