Disinfo: No solid evidence of Russia’s role in Skripal poisoning

Summary

London accused the Kremlin of being behind the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in March 2018. There was no solid evidence pointing to Moscow.

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative casting the Skripal poisoning as wholly unconnected to Russia.

Moscow's involvement in the poisoning has been proven via a throrough 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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Sergei Skripal

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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By defeating Nazism, Stalin atoned for crimes against his own people and saved other nations

Obviously Stalin committed crimes against his own people. But did he not, at least in part, atone for these crimes by defeating Nazism? It is clear that had Stalin not achieved this result, the Czech nation (and other nations) would not even exist. It would have been partially enslaved, destroyed and Germanised. Therefore the issue of Stalin’s crimes and merits is complex, as are issues related to World War II. As Schiller wrote in his Ode to Joy: supreme justice will judge our judges.

Disproof

This message follows the pro-Kremlin policy of historical revisionism seeking to glorify the Soviet victory in World War II, credit Joseph Stalin for this victory, and downplay and relativise the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Stalin and by Soviet totalitarianism. The claim involves deceptive moral equivocation to suggest that Stalin's "defeat" of Nazism nullifies his other crimes against humanity.

Firstly, the revisionist pro-Kremlin claims of Stalin's "defeat" of Nazism and Soviet liberation of eastern Europe don't stand up to scrutiny. Stalin’s alliance with Hitler (1939-1941) created favorable conditions for Nazi Germany’s expansion. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and its secret protocols, dividing Europe and the territories of independent states between the two totalitarian regimes and grouping them into spheres of interest, paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War and resulted in half a century of communism in eastern Europe.

Facts show Bill Gates may be behind the coronavirus pandemic, his medicine already paralysed half a million

This virus, even if it has a natural origin, is needed now by those who develop vaccines, those who are preparing plans for universal vaccination of the world’s population. And of course, this is Bill Gates. Together with his wife, he created a fund and began to send money to create vaccines against various diseases, ranging from AIDS to malaria. One billionaire’s medicine paralysed half a million people. During the campaign against meningitis in Africa, nearly five hundred people developed paralysis. It turns out that the billionaire is sponsoring WHO to reduce the population of the planet.

Bill Gates says, yes we have to find a way to digitally identify a person so that we can know about his state of health, about the vaccines that he received, yes, we are exploring the option of creating such nano-microchips, but you guys don’t be afraid of anything, because this is aimed at preserving mankind’s health. The same digital certificates, according to Gates, will be used to record those who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Who do you think is developing the so-called nano-vaccine from COVID-19? Correct. Bill Gates: “It usually takes five years to develop a new vaccine. Now we are busy trying to keep to18 months. If everything is going to be fine, maybe we’ll catch it earlier”. Millions of people around the world saw videos linking Bill Gates to the invention of coronavirus. Many, even famous people, believe that Bill Gates is behind the creation of the coronavirus.

Disproof

The report contains various unfounded conspiracy claims, clearly presented as "facts" discovered by journalists in the framework of their "investigation".

The only support to the claims is that "many people, including famous ones, believe in them" and that millions of people around the world saw videos linking Bill Gates to the invention of coronavirus. However, the scale of the spread of such "news" cannot be its supporting evidence.

NATO does not help member states to fight against coronavirus

Criticism of NATO is more and more heard in the West, because of insufficient assistance to member states of the military bloc, for example to Spain and Italy. Experts note the failure of the alliance in a pandemic. It turns out that NATO is fighting only with the far-fetched “Russian threat”. But when it comes to real danger, the bloc shows its inefficiency. Coronavirus has proven the futility of NATO.

 

Disproof

This is one of several recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the inability of NATO and the EU to assist their member states in fighting the coronavirus and about the alleged disintegration of the EU, NATO and other Western bodies.

NATO has been doing a great deal to assist all member states in the fight against COVID-19. This includes facilitating the airlift of crucial medical supplies and equipment,  matching requests for support with offers from allies and partners, setting up field hospitals. Many Allies, including the Czech Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain have benefited from this support.