Disinfo: UK denied access to the Skripals


The EU prolonged its sanctions against the persons linked to the Skripals’ poisoning. Theresa May claimed that the Novichok originated from Russia but Porton Down denied this claim. Russia has repeatedly proposed a joint investigation but Britain ignored this and denied access to the Skripals.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the Skripals' poisoning. The statement contains two disinformation narratives out of the many pushed (see article on EUvsdisinfo here). Firstly, the Porton Down laboratory has not contradicted any statements by the former British Prime Minister, Theresa May. As can be seen from this previous case, British scientists at the Porton Down defence research laboratory were indeed unable to verify the precise source of the Novichok. However, they did not disprove the Russian source of it as claimed. In 2018, Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), stated the following: "We were able to identify it as Novichok, to identify it was a military-grade nerve agent. We have not verified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific information to the government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they have come to.” Furthermore, a report from the OPCW confirmed the UK's findings in the Skripal poisoning, specifically the purity of the toxin. Secondly, regarding access to the Skripals, Yulia Skripal stated in an interview that she was aware of Russian officials’ offers to meet, but that she declined to do so. A similar case can be seen here.


  • Reported in: Issue 169
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/10/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Sergei Skripal


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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