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
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Skripal, novichok, Sergei Skripal

Disclaimer

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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Evidence shows: Kara-Murza was not poisoned

The FBI has shared with the American propaganda radio station Radio Liberty data about the case of Vladimir Kara-Murza. He is an American citizen, Khodorkovsky’s closest ally, a former messenger, an errand boy and a messenger of Russophobic Senator McCain, is also close to another Russophobic Senator Ben Cardina, co-author of the anti-Russian Magnitsky sanctions. Kara-Murza has been writing for six years and says that Putin personally gave instructions to poison him.

Through the court, the activist received the publication of the results of the FBI investigation, they were published in part, and it is already clear, written in black and white: there was no poisoning. Presumably, there will be no apology from Kara-Murza.

Disproof

Background:

Journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who works for pro-democracy group Open Russia, became ill in February 2017. According to the media reports, the official diagnosis in his hospital notes was a "toxic action by an unidentified substance". Read more here.

This pro-Kremlin disinformation outlet misrepresents Radio Liberty's report titled "Mystery over Russian’s suspected poisoning deepens with new FBI records". This case revolves around a decision by the District of Columbia court, according to which the US Department of Justice is obliged to provide Kara-Murza with documents by October 15, 2020, but, as Radio Liberty says, the Ministry has already stated that they won't have time to deliver the documents by this date. Some of the documents, about 400 pages long, were indeed declassified and handed over to Kara-Murza, but the ministry said that about 1,100 more pages were found.

The documents handed over to Kara-Murza contain the results of analyses carried out by the FBI laboratory in Quantico. They did not find anything but a high content of barium in the urine. But after that, the samples were sent to Livermore National Laboratory - one of four American laboratories certified by the OPCW for the analysis of biological materials. The results of the second study are still classified. Radio Liberty, to which the disinformation outlet refers, does not claim that "there was no poisoning".

WHO says the Russian “Sputnik-V” vaccine is safe and effective

The World Health Organization thanks Russia for the Sputnik V vaccine, which is safe and effective.

Disproof

The statement is distorted.

In September 2020, Hans Kluge, Director of the European Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO), during a country visit to Russia "commended the Russian Federation for its COVID-19 vaccine research and development efforts, and for sharing information with WHO as part of the global effort to find a safe and effective vaccine," as stated on the WHO Europe website.

Twitter sanctions against Russian media is a censorship act

Twitter has removed the account of the Russian agency RIA Novosti from its search results. Previously, Twitter blocked RT and Sputnik’s profiles in the same way. Such restrictions from Twitter correspond to an act of media censorship, which is directly prohibited by the Constitution of Russia. Twitter’s management announced that it would label media accounts that are controlled by the authorities, however, this does not apply to all such media. There is no such label on the Voice of America or Radio Liberty, while the personal account of Margarita Simonyan is labelled “State edition”.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that the West imposes censorship and that Russia protects freedom of speech and the press. This is consistent with the broad pro-Kremlin narrative that seeks to discredit liberal democratic societies by claiming that the latter are totalitarian systems ruled by “globalist elites” and “shadow governments” which persecute anyone who expresses views that dissent from dominant “politically correct” liberal-globalist thinking.

Twitter announced in August that it will start labelling State-affiliated media organisations "where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, political pressure or control over production and distribution". Editors and senior staff will also have their accounts labelled. However, publicly funded news organisations with editorial independence will not be labelled, including the BBC and the US network NPR.