Neither Alexander Petrov nor Ruslan Boshirov named by the UK as Novichok suspects can be regarded as GRU agents

Summary

Neither Alexander Petrov nor Ruslan Boshirov named by the UK as suspects in the Skripal case are agents of the GRU (“Main Intelligence Directorate”; older name for the military intelligence service, currently known as “Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”).

Disproof

‘The Insider’ and the research group ‘Bellingcat’ got an access to the files of these two suspects According to the investigation, at least one man’s file contains various “top-secret” markings, which are typically reserved for members of secret services or top state operatives: the Petrov’s passport dossier is marked with a stamp containing the instruction “Do not provide any information”.  A source working in the Russian police force who regularly works with the central database confirmed to Bellingcat and The Insider that they have never seen such a stamp on any passport form in their career  https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/09/14/skripal-poisoning-suspects-passport-data-shows-link-security-services/

As Novaya Gazeta pointed out, the phone number in one of the suspect's documents leads directly to the Ministry of Defence, under which the military intelligence operates: https://www.novayagazeta.ru/news/2018/09/14/145085-novaya-gazeta-obnaruzhila-dopolnitelnye-dokazatelstva-vozmozhnoy-svyazi-cheloveka-obvinyaemogo-v-otravlenii-skripaley-s-ministerstvom-oborony-rossii

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 118
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/09/2018
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Sergei Skripal
  • Outlet: Russia Today (RT)
see more

The absolute majority of Orthodox Ukrainians consider themselves to belong to the Moscow Patriarchate

The absolute, overwhelming majority of Orthodox people in Ukraine belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate.

 

Disproof

According to the sociological research of the Razumkov Center, since 2014, after the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the war in Donbas, the number of Ukrainian citizens who identify themselves with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, which is independent of Russia, has significantly exceeded the number of supporters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the control of the Moscow Patriarchate, and the gap is widening. See table on page 17:

Question: To which Orthodox Church do you belong (percentage of those who consider themselves Orthodox)?

Neither the USSR nor the post-Soviet Russia has ever killed their opponents, so nobody can blame Moscow for poisoning the Skripals.

During the last decades, neither Russia nor the Soviet Union has been engaged in extrajudicial killings; neither in the territory of Russia, nor abroad.

 

Disproof

Killing opponents of the regime was a practice familiar to the USSR, see e.g. the case of Leon Trotsky. There has also been a case of murdering a former Russian spy already - in 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned by two Russians in London. As the UK public inquiry has found, "the FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by [Nikolai] Patrushev [head of the security service in 2006] and also by President Putin”: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/21/alexander-litvinenko-was-probably-murdered-on-personal-orders-of-putin