Disinfo: No evidence Navalny was poisoned; Washington and Brussels want sanctions

Summary

Poisoning Alexey Navalny could have been in nobody’s interest but Washington’s. The US does not like the fact that it cannot compete with Russian natural gas in Europe, and the German federal government and the CDU were unequivocally supporting the Nord Stream 2 project. The US failed to solve this via political pressure, so this had to be followed by the well-known sanctions policy with a good dose of Russophobia. There is no evidence that Navalny was poisoned, but this is reported as a fact by Western media from the first day. Russia was condemned by all US allies from the European Commission to NATO. Washington and Brussels want sanctions, and “surprisingly” the target might be the Nord Stream 2.

Disproof

An example of pro-Kremlin approach to blame every measure taken against Russia's actions on "Russophobia." A prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny fell ill during a flight and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. Since then he has been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. The German federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. The European Union condemned poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms. The poisoning was proven by a German military lab, which noted that the Russian opposition figure was poisoned with a variant of Novichok, a banned military-grade nerve agent. After the evidence came to light, German politicians said that unless Russia cooperates on an investigation launched into Navalny's case, they might be forced to "rethink" Nord Stream 2. No final decision has been made by the German federal government. The EU condemned in the strongest possible terms the assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny. According to the EU:

The use of chemical weapons is completely unacceptable under any circumstances, constitutes a serious breach of international law and international human rights standards. The European Union calls for a joint international response and reserves the right to take appropriate actions, including through restrictive measures.

US already has the power to sanction companies working on the pipeline, so Washington does not need a pretext.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Hungarian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Germany, US, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Alexei Navalny
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The "Novichok group" does not really exist

Professionals are not silent. They directly say that the clinical picture of the poisoning is completely different, that the “Novichok group” does not really exist, and that Berlin stubbornly avoids cooperation because it does not provide any information that would at least confirm the statements it has made. In short, Germany has told an absolute lie obvious to everyone, not caring about giving even a little certainty.

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. An effort to cast a shadow of doubt on the tests conducted in Germany. The test proving Navalny's poisoning was conducted in a special German military lab, according to the government spokesman Steffen Seibert. Navalny was certainly not suffering from low blood sugar, as the Russian doctors who first treated his mysterious illness had claimed, or even a standard detective-novel poison like arsenic or cyanide. It was something far more dangerous, requiring the attention of the Army’s chemical weapons specialists. As for the claim, that "Novichok" does not exist, in September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction of the 39,967 metric tons of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and weren’t included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019. After the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with Novichok in Salisbury in 2018, Dr. Vil Mirzayanov said that “many countries could have had test samples, but production was only refined in the U.S.S.R. and Russia” and that Russia had to be behind the attempt on the Skripals because it “is the country that invented it, has the experience, turned it into a weapon... has fully mastered the cycle”. German Die Zeit says Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the newest type of chemical warfare agent Novichok - slower in effect than the already known Novichok, but more dangerous. The new poison could not be created in any other conditions, except for the laboratories of the special services. See similar cases claiming that Russia doesn’t have Novichok anymore, that Poisoning of Navalny is a provocation to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2, that Navalny case is a special operation used to put pressure on Putin, and just a pretext for the West to enforce Russophobia.

US charged Russia based on inconclusive evidence on Skripals’ poisoning

Although London did not provide conclusive evidence of Skripals’ poisoning in 2018, this did not prevent Washington from directing charges against Moscow.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury claiming that the United Kingdom was never able to provide "conclusive" evidence of the Skripal being poisoned nor of Russia’s involvement. Moscow's involvement in the poisoning has been proven via a thorough investigation. 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. Parts of the material have 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 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. No State Party was involved in the technical work carried out by the Technical Secretariat," to ensure the integrity of the examinations and investigations. 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. Novichok was developed in Russia in the 1970s and 1980s. It is so unusual, that very few scientists outside of Russia have any real experience in dealing with it and no country outside of Russia is known to have developed the substance. See reports here and here. See similar cases claiming that there was no evidence of Russia's involvement in the poisoning of Skripals and that Russia is accused of US election meddling and the Skripals’ poisoning without proof.

Navalny and Nord Stream 2: The Americans are recouping their long-term investment in Alexei

Russia has no benefit in the hypothetical poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny. This incident cannot be beneficial to Russia, and the unfounded accusations against Moscow and the demands to suspend the Nord Stream 2 project indicate that it is a political order. Both Navalny and Skripal are already waste material. But their consequences are very beneficial to the United States because now they are trying to push through the cancellation of Nord Stream 2. The Americans, it seems, have finally decided to recoup their long-term investment in Alexei.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexei Navalny's poisoning. There are no grounds for connecting the cause of Navalny's poisoning with the construction of Nord Stream 2. A prominent Russian opposition figure, Alexey Navalny fell ill during an internal flight in Russia and the plane had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. Since then he has been transferred to Berlin and is receiving treatment at Berlin's Charite Hospital. The German federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. The European Union condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in the strongest possible terms. Read similar disinformation messages alleging that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny's blood, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko or that US used Navalny case to block Russian vaccine against COVID-19.