Disinfo: Sergei Skripal was victim of food poisoning, no novichok or Russian secret service was involved

Summary

The only established poisoning by Russian secret services was Stepan Bandera in 1959. All other cases are not true. In 2018, Sergei Skripal and his daughter were most likely victim of food poisoning. And even if a real poison was involved, there is no evidence that it comes from Russia or was synthesised in a Russian laboratory. We know that other western laboratories already synthesised this poison.

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative casting the Skripal poisoning, and by consequence the Navalny poisoning, as entirely unconnected to Russia. Moscow's involvement in the poisoning has been proven via a thorough 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. The picture of the bottle that contained the poison was published by Scotland Yard after a Salisbury couple Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess were intoxicated by the same substance. Ms. Sturgess died from the poison. 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. Reports about the substance can be read here and here. See more disinformation cases on the Salisbury poisoning.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 210
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) French
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Skripal, novichok, GRU, Sergei Skripal
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Disinfo: In Belarus there are signs of a colour revolution, but a hybrid one

Today in Belarus we see signs of a colour revolution, but a hybrid one. It combines Hong Kong’s 2019-2020 scheme, and in terms of its overall coup strategy, the colour revolution in Belarus is very similar and almost replicates the Venezuelan scenario first used by the Americans in 2019. It is a technology that is almost never missed. The elements of the Ukrainian Maidan are clearly visible as the main outline in the events taking place in Belarus.

Disproof

This is part of an ongoing Russian disinformation campaign on Belarus based on recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, such as accusing other countries of interference and portraying popular protests against electoral fraud in the country as a Western-led colour revolution. The protests in Belarus erupted to contest the results of the presidential elections in Belarus that took place on the 9 August, which are considered fraudulent by a large part of Belarusian society. The European Union has also stated that the elections were neither free nor fair. There is no evidence that the protests in Belarus are funded and organised externally. Pro-Kremlin media frequently use disinformation narratives about popular protests around the world allegedly incited and funded by the US and other Western states. It has been applied, among others, to protests in Ukraine, Venezuela, Georgia, and Belarus, as well as to present a deceiving narrative on the aggressive West constantly preparing new coups. See similar cases claiming that the protests in Belarus are a colour revolution conducted according to a Maidan scenario and that the West wants to prepare Maidan in Belarus.

Disinfo: Colour revolutions in the post-Soviet countries were aimed at separating those from Russia

As a rule, all the colour revolutions organised in the post-Soviet countries were aimed at separating those countries from the Russian Federation… Unfortunately, all these revolutions are either openly anti-Russian, and more often they are just such a slow-moving Russophobia, or even an attempt to move away completely from Russia.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy which is consistent with a number of recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives about the aggressive West, its attempts to encircle Russia and organise colour revolutions in the post-Soviet space and about the West's attempts to disrupt Russias ties with other post-Soviet countries. This narrative portrays any spontaneous disorders and civil uprisings in other states, especially the former Soviet republics, as West-funded Anti-Russian and Russophobic "coups" and attempts by the West to overthrow regimes in post-Soviet states and in other regions. The narrative has been applied, among others, to report about protests in Ukraine, Venezuela, Georgia, Armenia and Belarus, as well as to portray the West as an aggressive actor constantly preparing new coups. Read a similar case claiming that global liberal elite stages Russophobic events throughout the world, that the West wants to turn Belarus into an anti-Russian outpost, that the US backed the coup in Ukraine in 2014, that the protests in Belarus are a colour revolution conducted according to a Maidan scenario and that the West wants to prepare Maidan in Belarus, or that the masters of the colour revolution in Armenia are only interested in creating problems for Russia.

Disinfo: Ukrainian militants are staying in Belarus to carry out a coup d'etat

About 200 extremists trained in Ukraine are currently in Belarus. Ukrainian militants are staying in Belarus to carry out a coup d’etat. At the same time, they are actively cooperating with the Polish special services. The coup d’etat in Belarus is carried out under their leadership. They involve their partners from Ukraine to do the dirty work.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Belarus protests and about protests in post-communist countries in general, presenting them as being organised and controlled from abroad. Neither in the text nor elsewhere is there any evidence that foreign forces are involved in the protests in Belarus. Large-scale protests began in Minsk on August 9 against the results of the presidential election, and then in other cities. People revolted against what they call election fraud but also against the aggressiveness of the police, who arrested and ill-treated hundreds of protestors. Ukraine's foreign minister Dmitro Kuleba reacted to Sergey Lavrov's claims about the 200 Ukrainian extremists in Belarus:

“I don't even want to comment on this nonsense. The 200 Ukrainian extremists that Ukraine allegedly sent to Belarus to destabilise the situation, and the training camps for extremists in Ukraine are the fruit of the painful imagination of those who provided such information to my Russian colleague Sergey Lavrov."

On the other hand, Russia has openly claimed it is willing to intervene in Belarus if the situation escalates. Read a similar case claiming that the West is preparing a colour revolution in Belarus.