Disinfo: Chemical weapon in Russia has long since been destroyed


Russia is blamed for poisoning the Skripals with a chemical weapon that has long since been destroyed in Russia, unlike in the US.


This is a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative that Russia shut down all its chemical weapons programmes decades ago and that it had nothing to do with the poisoning and attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal in Salisbury.

The first claim about chemical weapons has been refuted by the UK government’s investigation into the Salisbury attack. The UK government's assessment of the attack is fully supported by leading Western states. This investigation found that Sergey and Yuliya Skripal were poisoned using a specific Novichok nerve agent. This was confirmed by an independent analysis by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Novichok nerve agents were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1980s under a programme codenamed FOLIANT. According to the UK intelligence assessment, based on open-source analysis and intelligence information, over the past decade, Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichok agents, long after it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In September 2018, the UK, the US, France, Germany and Canada issued a joint statement, saying they had “full confidence” in the UK’s assessment that the Salisbury attack used Novichok nerve agents, and that it has been carried out by Russia’s GRU agency and “almost certainly approved at a senior government level”.


  • Reported in: Issue 160
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: novichok, Sergei Skripal, Chemical weapons/attack


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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