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
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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.

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.

Germany maintains dominance of the EU bloc through keeping the rest of the countries weak

The de-facto leader of the EU, Germany, is dedicated to keeping the rest of the bloc weak so as to maintain its economic dominance of the continent.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about “lost sovereignty”. European countries are not “dominated” by Germany or any other party.

See similar disinformation cases alleging that Ukraine is ruled by foreigners, the Baltic states are not really countries, and the EU is directed by Washington.