Novichok: The West is trying to block the TurkStream project in Bulgaria

Summary

The alleged Novichok poisoning in Bulgaria is part of the West’s scenario to block the TurkStream project in Bulgaria.

The West is trying to blame Russia and to remove Bulgaria from the implementation of this project. American influence is clearly visible here.

Disproof

No evidence given. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Skripal poisoning. For more examples see here.

Emilian Gebrev fell into a coma in April 2015, along with his son and one of his company directors. They survived the suspected poisoning, but the case was never solved. On March 4th 2018, the Skripals were poisoned in Salisbury with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. In October 2018, Gebrev approached Bulgarian prosecutors with the results of laboratory tests from 2015, which he believed showed he could have been poisoned with a nerve agent similar to Novichok.

Britain and Bulgaria are currently jointly investigating the 2015 poisoning of a Bulgarian arms dealer to determine whether it involved Novichok.

For background:

Novichok is known to be more powerful than VX and 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 by CNN, BBC, the Guardian.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 138
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/02/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Bulgaria, UK, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, TurkStream, Sergei Skripal, Conspiracy
  • Outlet: News Front
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White Helmets kidnap children, traffic human organs, and stage chemical attacks

The White Helmets kidnapped children to stage chemical attacks and for organ trafficking, from locations including eastern Aleppo and eastern Ghouta. They are accused of doing so in cooperation with al-Qaeda. There are videos showing that the White Helmets had themselves participated in terrorist atrocities against Syrian civilians. Evidence against this organisation is accumulating exponentially. A former MI6 agent is involved in propaganda about the White Helmets. There are doubts if the British government undertook all necessary precautions to ensure that it did not allow the presence of terrorists [White Helmets] on British soil.

Disproof

This piece refers to an unverified report aimed to advance the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative of crimes and hoaxes perpetrated by the White Helmets.

The report in question was presented by Maksim Grigoryev, a member of Russia's Civil Chamber, and bases its claims on a "fact-checking" methodology consisting solely of purported witness testimony and unverifiable hearsay. The presenter himself pointed out that Grigoryev's findings are merely "evidence heard" at this point, as the UN has yet to assess their veracity and take an official stance on them.

Poroshenko may provoke a military clash with Russian forces in order to postpone election

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko may provoke a direct military clash with Russian forces before the election – that way, voting will be postponed and he will remain in power. But since Poroshenko is not an independent figure and does not make military decisions himself, this strategy would be part of unified plan led by NATO and the US, just as it happened in August 2008 in Georgia. Alternatively, if the elections take place after all, this orchestrated clash would help Poroshenko mobilise voters in his favour.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no evidence given. This case is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the election in Ukraine. For similar cases see: Kerch confrontation - part of Poroshenko's plan to postpone the Ukrainian election.

This disinformation case occurred in the context of President Poroshenko's address to the UN, where he declared his expectation that the UN will continue with its peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine.

Kyiv prepares new provocation in Kerch Strait involving NATO

Ukrainian authorities are planning to send military ships back to the Kerch Strait in order to violate Russian naval territory. 

They are preparing to attempt a new illegal entry of the Kerch Strait without any prior request, without observing security measures, and without a pilot. They asked NATO countries to deploy representatives on Ukrainian ships in order to cross the Kerch Strait illegally. 

 

Disproof

No evidence given. This is a continuation of the pro-Kremlin narrative that, on November 24th 2018, Ukrainian ships approached the Kerch Strait without giving any warning, leading the Russian side to open fire.

According to a Bellingcat investigation based on geolocated video footage, Ukrainian ships did enter Russian-claimed territorial waters. They are, in fact, only Russian-claimed territorial waters, rather than internationally recognised boundaries. The use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov is regulated by a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004. According to the document, the Sea of Azov is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.