Disinfo: London has no evidence of Moscow's complicity in Skripals' poisoning

Summary

British police have acknowledged that they have no evidence to suggest that the Russian authorities were complicit in the attack on the Skripals.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury claiming that the UK has never proved Russia’s involvement and has not provided any evidence. As clearly stated by Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council on the 5th of September 2018, UK police and UK intelligence services have produced sufficient hard forensic evidence to charge two Russian nationals, identified as officers of the Russian Military Intelligence, GRU, for the attack against the Skripals. The investigative outlet Bellingcat later revealed the identities of the two Russian nationals. Furthermore, the UK investigation found that Sergey and Yuliya Skripal were poisoned using a specific Novichok nerve agent that could not have been produced by non-state actors. This was confirmed by an independent OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] analysis. According to the UK intelligence assessment, based on open-source analysis and intelligence information, in the past decade, Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichok agents, long after it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. For similar cases see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 160
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/08/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Romanian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Sergei Skripal
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The responsibility for terminating the INF Treaty lies entirely with the American side

The unilateral, on a far-fetched pretext, US withdrawal from the INF Treaty and the destruction of one of the fundamental documents in the field of arms control have seriously complicated the situation in the world and created fundamental risks for everyone. The responsibility for what happened lies entirely with the American side.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that the US is entirely responsible for the demise of the INF treaty. Russia bears primary responsibility for the end of the INF Treaty, because it has produced, tested and deployed the 9M729 missile, which violates the agreement. In July 2014, the then-US President Obama officially accused Russia of testing a missile in violation of the INF Treaty, which prohibits the US or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometres. In a joint statement released after the meeting held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 December 2018, NATO Foreign Ministers stated that “Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security." US and NATO have repeatedly engaged with Russia to preserve the INF treaty. For background on pro-Kremlin myths on the INF Treaty see here.

Ukraine is the project of the West

Russia has restored its sovereignty since the 1990’s, but Ukraine has none. It’s a project of the West; the creation of a long-term source of tension between the West and Russia.

Disproof

Recurring Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine, its hyper-dependence on the West, and Ukraine as an anti-Russian project. In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union. The Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine was adopted on July 16 1990, Ukraine is recognised in international law as a sovereign nation-state, with its own flag, nationality, language etc. Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically-elected president and parliament. The EU and US support the democratic development of Ukraine in accordance with the UN Charter’s principles of non-interference into internal affairs and respect towards territorial integrity and political independence.

Relations between Ukraine and the EU are based on the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, which recognises and reaffirms independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders. Due to all the legal instruments, like the Association Agreement, Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), Visa liberalisation dialogue and visa-free regime, Eastern Partnership Programme etc. Ukraine stays under the EU's strong supervision and monitoring.

Chemical weapon in Russia has long since been destroyed

Russia is blamed for poisoning the Skripals with a chemical weapon that has long since been destroyed in Russia, unlike in the US.

Disproof

This is a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative that Russia shut down all its chemical weapons programmes decades ago and that it had nothing to do with the poisoning and attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal in Salisbury. The first claim about chemical weapons has been refuted by the UK government’s investigation into the Salisbury attack. The UK government's assessment of the attack is fully supported by leading Western states. This investigation found that Sergey and Yuliya Skripal were poisoned using a specific Novichok nerve agent. This was confirmed by an independent analysis by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Novichok nerve agents were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1980s under a programme codenamed FOLIANT. According to the UK intelligence assessment, based on open-source analysis and intelligence information, over the past decade, Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichok agents, long after it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. In September 2018, the UK, the US, France, Germany and Canada issued a joint statement, saying they had “full confidence” in the UK’s assessment that the Salisbury attack used Novichok nerve agents, and that it has been carried out by Russia’s GRU agency and “almost certainly approved at a senior government level”.