Disinfo: It is unclear, who really poisoned Sergei and Yuliya Skripal

Summary

Sergei and Yuliya Skripal were found unconscious in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018 and were taken to hospital with symptoms of poisoning. It is still unclear by whom, and under what circumstances, the former Russian-British double agent and his daughter were really poisoned.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Salisbury poisoning.

After a hearing in the Court of Protection, British High Court Justice David Williams issued an approved judgement about what had happened to the Skripals around three weeks after their poisoning in March 2018. The British Police have presented a solid chain of evidence on the Skripal case, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Some of the material has been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents.

Following this attack, the United Kingdom notified the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), invited them to confirm the identity of the substance involved, and briefed members of the Security Council. The OPCW’s independent expert laboratories confirmed the UK’s identification of the Russian produced Novichok nerve agent, specifically the purity of the toxin while emphasising that the OPCW team “worked independently and was not involved in the national investigation by the UK authorities", to ensure the integrity of the examinations and investigations.

The pro-Kremlin narrative also claims that the Skripal story "starts to be forgotten". In fact, the UK's official assessment of the incident was supported by 28 other countries which responded similarly. Altogether, an unprecedented number of 153 Russian diplomats were expelled around the world.

See more disinformation cases on the Skripals' Salisbury poisoning.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 217
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 24/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Skripal, Sergei Skripal

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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The crisis in Belarus was triggered by Western countries

The crisis in Belarus was triggered by Western countries and forced supporters of rapprochement with Russia, to unite.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Belarusian protests.

There is no evidence that any other Western governments or countries are at all involved in the protests in Belarus. Protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9th of August, which were not monitored by independent experts, and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a big part of the Belarusian society. On 19 August 2020, the European Council called the Belarusian elections neither free nor fair. Mobilisations were organised and carried out by local actorsopposition politicians and Belarusian citizens, without any foreign involvement.

In October 2020, the EU Council imposed sanctions against 40 individuals identified as responsible for repression and intimidation against peaceful demonstrators, opposition members and journalists in the wake of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus, as well as for misconduct of the electoral process. See the full text and the Council conclusions (page 10).

Read earlier disinformation cases alleging that Poland is preparing a Euromaidan scenario for Belarus, that Belarus will turn anti-Russian in case it does not deepen integration with Russia, that the West's only interest in Belarus is to make it anti-Russian, and that the US plans to turn Belarus into its colony, a coup and foreign military invasion may happen.

Novichok is a Western brand known from an American database, Russia does not possess it

As for the nerve agent known in the West as Novichok, its structure and mass spectrum were first entered into the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) database in 1998. It is noteworthy that the data on this substance was provided by a research centre of the U.S. Department of Defence. Later on, a whole group of toxic chemicals not covered by the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (CWC) was developed on the basis of the mentioned compound.

These new Novichok-like substances that have not yet been registered on the banned list are being dealt with not only in the USA, but in at least 20 other Western countries. So Novichok is a purely Western brand. In these Western countries, about 140 variants of this substance have been synthesised and are available. [Russia] does not possess them.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory.

In September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction of the 39,967 tonnes of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and were not included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019.

Skripal and Navalny cases are both fake, goal is to pit Germany against Russia

The parallels between the German Novichok Navalny case and the British Novichok Skripal case are obvious: both are fake. […]

The Russian government was declared guilty; not on the basis of circumstantial evidence, but with the help of twisted motto “Who else but Putin could it have been?” And because that worked so well in the Skripal case, the transatlantic US vassals in the German government in Berlin are trying to pull the Navalny rabbit out of the Novichok hat with the same British Skripal magic trick, because the German population must be put in position against the evil Russians. […]

Yet only a few years ago in Germany and in the old countries of the European Union, the foreign policy consensus was that “without Russia peace and stability in Europe are not possible, and certainly not when being against Russia.” This insight has lost none of its validity since then, and the desire for peace with Russia is firmly anchored in the minds of a large part of the population. However, the transatlantic warmongers in the EU want to counteract this with fake horror stories of the Skripal type and now with the fake Novichok poisoning of Navalny.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory, and a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Navalny's poisoning in connection with the Skripal-poisoning. These narratives aim to deny Russia's well-documented role in the poisoning of Sergey and Yuliya Skripal in 2018 as well as to label Western governments and institutions as inherently Russophobic and Anti-Russian, targeting Vladimir Putin.

Additionally the claim also includes the pro-Kremlin narrative of Germany being a US-vassal. Pro-Kremlin outlets often use the disinformation narrative about different countries being under America's thumb - see other examples here. Germany is an independent and sovereign country and is not dependent on the United States of America in terms of foreign policy making and therefore it is a conspiracy theory presented without any evidence. Germany and the US have close partner relations of two sovereign and independent countries.