Disinfo: Symptoms show: the Skripals were not poisoned by Novichok

Summary

The poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in 2018 was caused by an overdose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl and not the phosphorus toxic agent Novichok, according to the developer of Novichok. There was no reason to believe they had phosphorus poisoning. Remember the interview with Skripal’s daughter? She had a scar on her throat. This is called a tracheotomy. It is performed when all the muscles relax like fentanyl’s overdose, and not contract like after the poisoning with phosphorus agents.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, UK. 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. 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. Addressing the claim that "tracheotomy is done when all the muscles do not contract like after phosphorus agent poisonings, but relax like after fentanyl's overdose", the Insider reminds that, according to medical reference book "Medical bulletin", the symptoms of fentanyl's overdose are actually the opposite - it is the muscles' contraction and in general the symptoms are similar to those after the phosphorus agent Novichok's poisoning. The expert referred to in the original article is also often quoted as saying that Navalny would have died if it had been Novichok. He indeed has a history of working with the nerve poison. In 2000 Rink was indicted for illegally selling Novichok from his garage, an action that resulted in the first deaths from nerve agent, in 1995. His criminal case was later dismissed on secret grounds and he received a one-year suspended sentence. See similar cases claiming that there was no evidence of Russia's involvement in the poisoning of Skripals and that Russia is accused of US election meddling and the Skripals’ poisoning without proof.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 214
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Skripal, novichok, Sergei Skripal
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It is impossible to recover from a Novichok poisoning

It is impossible for a person poisoned by Novichok to recover, which indicates the existence of a plot against Russia.

Disproof

The story is part of an emerging web of counter-narratives designed to confuse Western public opinion and deny Moscow's involvement in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. This argument follows a recurring Kremlin pattern of denying that Navalny was poisoned and that Moscow had anything to do with it. In this case, the argument is that Novichok is only a lethal military-grade nerve agent and that the result is always death. However, we know that Novichok is a highly toxic nerve agent that slows the heart, paralyses the muscles used for breathing and — if the dose is big enough — can lead to death by asphyxiation. A smaller dose may result in seizures, neuromuscular weakness, liver failure and other damage. This has been presented in various other reports here, here, and here. So, Novichok does not necessarily lead to the death of everyone who came in contact with it. Furthermore, Navalny's coma was medically induced and did not constitute a symptom of poisoning. Several other confirmed Novichok victims were put in a coma and subsequently regained consciousness. In 1987 Andrey Zheleznyakov, a researcher attached to the Soviet chemical warfare programme, suffered an accidental exposure to a Novichok-type compound. The accident left him permanently disabled but alive for another six years. In March 2018, Russian ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yuliya fell victim to poisoning in Salisbury but recovered with intensive medical care as did a police officer who had been exposed when he visited their home to investigate. The UK authorities established that the assassination attempt had been carried out by two Russian intelligence operatives using Novichok. The following June, two individuals in Amesbury, England were accidentally exposed to Novichok contained in a fake perfume bottle. One of the victims survived. It should be further noted that, like most other chemical weapons, Novichok was not developed with the individual assassination in mind. Marc-Michael Blum, former head of the OPCW Laboratory, explains that "these substances are designed for the mass destruction of enemy personnel during the war," and are thus "not reliable enough" if used to kill one, specific individual in peacetime conditions. In other words, it cannot be ruled out that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok simply because he survived the ordeal and regained consciousness. Read similar disinformation messages alleging that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny to launch a new wave of sanctions against Russia, that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny's blood, that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny, as with Skripal and Litvinenko or that US used Navalny case to block Russian vaccine against COVID-19.

Ukraine will present another propaganda film about Donbas at the Oscars

Ukraine will send “Atlantis”, a propaganda film about Donbas, as a contender for an Oscar in the category of best foreign language film. The plot of the film depicts the events of 2025, when Ukraine allegedly defeats Russia in a war for Donbas. As a result, the region comes under the control of Kyiv, but the territory is declared uninhabitable. In the film, the roles are played by non-professional actors – mainly militants who fought in the Donbas, volunteers and supporters of the criminal regime.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Oscar Committee has nominated the drama "Atlantis" directed by Valentin Vasyanovich for the "International Feature Film" Oscar of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In September 2019, the Ukrainian dystopian drama won the Best Film in the Horizons program at the 76th Venice Film Festival. In August 2020, Atlantis was selected for a long list of European Film Awards. The article repeats pro-Kremlin narratives about the war in Ukraine that Russia is not a side of the conflict there and about "criminal regime" in Ukraine who grabbed the power in 2014 after the coup d'etat. The war in eastern Ukraine is not a West-driven civil conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. The EU has condemned the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. Read similar cases claiming that there is no evidence of Russian presence in Ukraine, that rumours about Russian military presence in Donbas come from linguistic misunderstanding, or that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

USA destroys Ukrainian identity

The US is purposefully destroying the local population of Ukraine, carrying out its complete Americanisation. In the ’90s the Soros Foundation was registered for the first time in Ukraine, and it began churning out a new managerial, intellectual, literary, pseudo-intellectual and teaching elite for the country. For thirty years of Ukraine’s independence, they managed to do everything, visit everywhere and reform everything. Crushing everyone and everything, they educated their cadres, and by 2014 prepared the ground for taking over control of all resources in the country, which, in principle, happened. Since 2014, Ukraine has lost its sovereignty, all the levels of control were and are with people with foreign passports.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the US, the American billionaire and the philanthropist George Soros, presenting him as a person who aims to control political systems in countries around the world, and Ukraine as well. Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically-elected president and parliament. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost the whole world. The EU and the US work closely with Ukraine. George Soros did found the "Open Society Foundation", inspired by Karl Popper’s concept of the “open society”, which aims to promote civil society, the rule of law, human rights and liberal democracy around the world by funding civil society groups. The International Renaissance Foundation is a Ukrainian NGO founded by Soros; it played an important role in supporting civil society during the Euromaidan protests. The foundation ensured that legal aid was made available throughout the crisis to civic activists, protesters, and journalists; supplied victims of violence with medical care; enabled civil society solidarity and organisation; supported channels like Hromadske TV in independent, live reporting about events on the Maidan; and documented cases of torture, beatings, and police and abuse by the courts. However this in no way can be linked to taking control of a society or country. See previous cases alleging that George Soros will buy all banks and land in Ukraine and that he will soon gain control of the country.