Disinfo: Labs could not prove that Novichok was involved because they don’t have any sample

Summary

Without the original Novichok sample to compare the analysis made with a mass spectrometer, it is impossible to know if the traces found in Alexei Navalny are really Novichok. This is a huge inconsistency and it makes us doubt the veracity of the public declarations.

Disproof

Disinformation message on the Alexei Navalny poisoning and the Novichok class of lethal agents.

On Monday, 14 September 2020 the German government stated that:

A specialist Bundeswehr laboratory carried out toxicological tests on samples from Alexei Navalny. The results of these tests have revealed unequivocal proof of the presence of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group.

(...)

Moreover, the Federal Government has requested that France and Sweden as European partners conduct an independent examination of the German evidence, based on new samples taken from Mr Navalny. The results of this examination by specialist laboratories in France and Sweden have meanwhile been released and confirm the German findings.

Mass spectrometry can be used to discover very low traces of substances and even deal with unknown substances since it shatters the molecules into charged fragments which, by their mass/charge ratio, behave differently in electromagnetic fields. Moreover, the public database of the National Institute of Standard and Technology contains both the mass spectrum of A-234 and the mass spectrum of the agent used in the Ivan Kivelidi killing in 1995. The scientific literature discusses those issues. For instance, the 3rd Edition of the Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents includes now a chapter on the use of the Novichok agent in the UK.

The online media Meduza interviewed Marc-Michael Blum, a biochemist who studies decontamination, countermeasures, and mitigation of chemical warfare agents who explains how to proceed with an analysis with mass spectrometry from biological samples.

Stating that identifying the poison is technically impossible and therefore the laboratories German, French and Swedish lie for political reasons is a lie.

Read also on the Navalny poisoning case: Alexei Navalny was poisoned by an MI6 agent, German doctors are silenced, Navalny's recovery disproves poisoning by Novichok.

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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Disproof

The claim contains multiple disinformation narratives on coronavirus, Georgia and Russian-occupied territories of Georgia.

In fact, local activists and the majoritarian candidate in Gori from opposition party United National Movement (UNM) held a demonstration near the occupation line to protest about the creeping occupation. It was not a secret gathering or provocation, aiming at infecting the South Ossetian population as the event was covered by media.

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Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no evidence given. This message is an example of a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine being abandoned by its Western partners and the disintegration of Ukraine.

Ukraine is a priority partner for the EU and NATO. Its sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost all the world. Neither the EU, nor NATO, or their member states are planning to destroy Ukraine. On the contrary, they support the economic development of Ukraine and, for example, right now provide financial assistance amidst the crisis caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

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Disproof

This is a pro-Kremlin narrative about the US presence in Europe as well as about thr Belarus protests and, in general, about protests in post-communist countries, presenting them as being organised and controlled from abroad. It accuses Poland of being a US puppet and of a plan to intervene in the domestic affairs of Belarus, which is a severe violation of the principles of diplomacy and international relations.

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