Disinfo: No evidence of Russian role in Skripal poisoning

Summary

One year after the alleged poisoning of Russian double agent Sergey Skripal and his daughter, the UK Government, the Western media, and NATO allies continue to accuse Russia of involvement in the incident. No evidence of Moscow’s role has been made available either to the public or to the Russian government. The Skripal “poisoning” is a false-flag operation organised by UK intelligence services to demonise Russia and its leaders.

Disproof

The story advances two recurring pro-Kremlin narratives, one casting the Skripal poisoning as wholly unconnected to Russia, and one portraying Western governments as pathologically anti-Russian.

Notwithstanding the diplomatic tensions between London and Moscow, the UK law enforcement agencies are neither obliged nor reasonably expected to divulge the findings of an ongoing, domestic criminal probe to the Russian government. In September 2018, the Metropolitan Police made its findings available to the public, complete with a timeline of events leading up to and following the 4 March poisoning, as well as information on the Russia-manufactured nerve agent used.

Later that year, a meticulous open-source investigation identified the two suspects in the poisoning as Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin, both Russian military intelligence operatives who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents.

See further debunking here (in Russian) and here; this analysis of Russia's disinformation tactics regarding the incident; this commentary on the efforts by pro-Kremlin media to pollute coverage of the poisoning with contradictory and farcical narratives.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 139
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Sergei Skripal, Diplomacy with Russia, Russophobia, Conspiracy

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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USA conducts Trojan horse operation with “fifth column” in Syria

As the US are preparing for the withdrawal of troops from Syria, they are still pursuing a firm policy against the humanitarian actions of Damascus and Moscow. This approach is part of the Pentagon’s new strategy of the “Trojan Horse”. It consists of an active use of the potential of “fifth column” protests in order to destabilise the situation, while hitting the most important sites in the country with high-precision weapons.

Disproof

No evidence given that the US are looking for a pretext to attack Syria. Recurrent Kremlin's narrative on US collaborating with ISIS and from the allegedly 'staged' human rights violations in Syria.

Syria has been excluded from League of Arab States for eight years due to human rights violations.

The Skripal case is a “dead cat” trick used by UK to divert attention from Brexit

The incident in Salisbury is a “dead cat” trick – a strategy used by UK to divert attention from it’s problems with the EU.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Salisbury attack. and connecting Skripal poisoning with Brexit. Many competing and contradictory stories promulgated by Russian state-controlled media on the Skripal poisoning. See here and here for EUvsDisinfo summary of disinformation naratives surrounding Skripal poisoning.

For the UK response on the Salisbury attack, see here.

Evidence of Sergei Skripal’s death has been found

The UK is lying about Sergei Skripal being alive. There is evidence of his death: he never contacted his relatives in Russia after being poisoned.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Salisbury attack and the conspiracy theory about the Skripals' death. There are no grounds to believe that the Skripals are dead rather than merely in hiding from those who attempted to murder them.

Recently, Sir Laurie Bristow, Britain's ambassador to Russia, confirmed that Sergei and Yulia Skripal are both alive. He told Interfax that neither party was interested in talking to Russian officials. The ambassador emphasised that if the Skripals want to meet with representatives of Russian officials, the British side will facilitate such an opportunity.