Disinfo: Salisbury attack could have been a farce with Skripal playing lead role

Summary

The Salisbury poisoning could have been a farce prepared by London, with Sergei Skripal playing the lead role. But in the end, the British probably miscalculated the poison dosage, or actually decided to kill Skripal altogether.

Disproof

No evidence given. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Salisbury poisoning. The disinformation message has been created as a series of inconsistencies, implying a British government conspiracy behind the Skripal case.

British police have presented a solid chain of evidence about the Skripal case, including pictures, that connects the two identified suspects to particular locations in the case. Parts of this material have been released to the public. The claim that the UK allegedly staged the poisoning is an unfounded conspiracy theory.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 139
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Sergei Skripal, Provocation, Conspiracy theory
see more

Russia shut down its chemical weapons programmes decades ago and has destroyed its stockpiles of chemical weapons

Russia ceased producing chemical weapons in 1992 and has destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons.

Disproof

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 Skripal in Salisbury. See previous cases here. 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 OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] analysis. 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. On 6 September, 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”. Further background can be seen here, here and here.

OPCW's very light report is not clear about whether chemical attack happened in Douma

On April 7, 2018, was Douma really victim of a chemical attack? And if yes, who committed it? OPCW’s report reads: The toxic chemical was probably the molecular chlorine. It gives reasonable grounds to believe that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon occurred. The use of the term probably or “reasonable grounds” does not allow us to have any certainty. Several British media have said that witnesses who appear in the video of the Douma hospital say themselves that the chemical attack on Douma was staged. The information was confirmed on Twitter by a BBC producer.

Disproof

In its final report, the OPCW does not leave any doubts on the detection of chlorine on Douma: "based on the levels of chlorinated organic derivatives, detected in several environmental samples gathered at the sites of alleged use of toxic chemicals, which are not naturally present in the environment, the FFM concludes that the objects from which the samples were taken at both locations had been in contact with one or more substances containing reactive chlorine" (page3 of the report). The claims that videos taken in a Douma hospital after the chemical attack were staged are a recurring narrative of pro-Kremlin outlets. See our reporting and Bellingcat coverage how Russian and Syrian state media has used fiction movies to "prove" the Douma attacks were staged. See more disinformation cases on chemical attack in Douma.

Moldovans with biometric passports have employment rights in the EU

Citizens of the Republic of Moldova with a biometric passport can work officially in the countries of the European Union; they can officially take up employment in the EU countries on the basis of the short-stay visa also. This is only possible for seasonal work that does not exceed 90 days.

Disproof

The liberalization of visas for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova is stipulated by EU Regulation NO. 259/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council from April 3, 2014. Thus, as of 28 April 2014, citizens of the Republic of Moldova who hold biometric passports may travel visa-free in 26 Schengen countries, except for Great Britain and Ireland. According to this Regulation, the visa-free travel to the EU states does NOT give the right to work. In order to work, live or study in the EU, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova have to obtain a long-stay visa - Type D visa (issued for a period of more than 90 days and issued for the purpose of: study, entrepreneurship, employment in the workplace, family reunification, etc.) Details on the rules and regulations for travelling to the Schengen area with a Moldovan passport can be found here.