Disinfo: Minsk intercepted a conversation between Warsaw and Berlin, which refutes claims about Navalny’s poisoning

Summary

The symptoms identified by Navalny are absolutely different from those that occur when poisoning with toxin. Samples that could confirm the “poisoning” will not be provided to Russia. Minsk had intercepted the conversation between Warsaw and Berlin, which refutes the statement about the blogger’s poisoning.

Disproof

Disinformation campaign around the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The German government dismissed Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s statement about intercepted conversation refuting Navalny's poisoning as being untrue. An official representative of the German government told RBC: “Of course, the statement of Alyaksandr Lukashenka does not correspond to reality.”

The Polish Foreign Ministry also rejected reports by the Belarusian authorities about an alleged telephone conversation between subscribers in Warsaw and Berlin regarding the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. In response to an inquiry by the Russian TASS agency, the Polish Foreign Ministry stated on September 7:" “We refute the Belarusian reports about the alleged telephone conversation on the Warsaw-Berlin line, in which the authorities of the two countries allegedly admitted that Alexei Navalny was not poisoned".

Context: Belarusian state-run media circulated a tape in which two people calling each other Nick and Mike talk about Navalny. It follows from the conversation that the poisoning of Navalny was allegedly falsified in order to increase pressure on Russia and force it to refuse to interfere in the affairs of Belarus. Alyaksandr Lukashenka previously claimed that this was an interception of a conversation between Berlin and Warsaw.

Unlike many other media, RIA Novosti did not include any denials of the authenticity of the tape in their article from September 4, nor give any updates. As shown above, Germany's denial was released on September 3.

Instead, in the same article, RIA Novosti advances narratives that Navalny's symptoms do not correspond to poisoning with nerve agent Novichok and that Germany won't provide the samples to Russia, to mutually strengthen the claims. Both narrative are false. See debunking on the Insider as for Novichok's poisoning symptoms. Also, the German authorities "agreed a long time ago" to satisfy the request of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office for legal assistance in the case of the possible poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Background

Russian opposition leader and a critic of Vladimir Putin Alexey Navalny has been suffering from suspected poisoning. He fell ill during a flight and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma. Navalny has since been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. Clinical findings indicate poisoning with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors, said Charite. At the request of the Charité, 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. Germany will forward the results of the toxicological test to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Belarus, Germany, Poland
  • Keywords: Alexei Navalny

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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OPCW faked data on chemical weapons in Syria, it has been proven many times

Everything that we know [on the Navalny’s poisoning – context], we know from the words of people. From the words of people who are not ones to be trusted. We know very well that the OPCW falsified data on chemical attacks in Syria, this has been proven many times.

Disproof

No evidence given. Recurrent conspiracy narrative proliferated by Kremlin-linked outlets repeating statements by Russian officials.

The OPCW said it found reasonable grounds to believe that chlorine was used as a weapon in the Douma district of Eastern Ghouta, Syria in April 2018.

If Navalny came out of the coma, he was not poisoned with Novichok

There is no way Navalny was poisoned by this neurotoxic agent. The fact that Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was put out of coma indicates that it was not Novichok nerve agent used against him.

Novichok was developed to replace nuclear weapons on the battlefield and has 100% mortality.

Disproof

The story is part of an emerging web of counter-narratives designed to confuse Western public opinion and deny Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

This argument follows a recurring Kremlin pattern of denying that Navalny was poisoned and that Moscow had anything to do with it. In this case, the argument is that Novichok is only a lethal military-grade nerve agent and that the result is always death. However, we know that Novichok is a highly toxic nerve agent that slows the heart, paralyses the muscles used for breathing and — if the dose is big enough — can lead to death by asphyxiation. A smaller dose may result in seizures, neuromuscular weakness, liver failure and other damage. This has been presented in various other reports here, here and here. So, Novichok does not necessarily lead to the death of everyone who came in contact with it.

Navalny would have died from Novichok poisoning

The symptoms of Aleksey Navalny’s alleged poisoning are absolutely uncharacteristic of the use of the Novichok nerve agent. He would have suffered convulsions and died, instead of falling into a coma.

Disproof

The story is part of an emerging web of counter-narratives designed to confuse Western public opinion and deny Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.

There are at least four people known to have survived a Novichok poisoning. In 1987 Andrey Zheleznyakov, a researcher attached to the Soviet chemical warfare programme, suffered an accidental exposure to a Novichok-type compound. The accident left him permanently disabled but alive for another six years.