Disinfo: US charged Russia based on inconclusive evidence on Skripals’ poisoning

Summary

Although London did not provide conclusive evidence of Skripals’ poisoning in 2018, this did not prevent Washington from directing charges against Moscow.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury claiming that the United Kingdom was never able to provide "conclusive" evidence of the Skripal being poisoned nor of Russia’s involvement.

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.

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. See reports here and here.

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

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.

see more

NATO exercises in Estonia are an unfriendly message addressed to Russia

Any NATO exercise is a message in military language addressed to certain countries, in this case, an unfriendly message addressed to Russia. The military exercises in Estonia are provocative and dangerous. NATO is working on a land war scenario. On the eastern borders of the Alliance, a land war can only be waged with Russia, no one else.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile agenda against Russia.

Every nation has the right to conduct exercises, but it is important that they are conducted transparently and in line with international obligations.

Merkel lied about Navalny’s poisoning

A wiretapped call between Berlin and Warsaw showed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statements about Alexei Navalny were false.

Disproof

This is an effort to cast a shadow of doubt on the tests conducted in Germany that led Chancellor Angela Merkel to say that Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned by a Novichok type nerve agent. However, no solid proof is given against Merkel's statements. There was only an alleged conversation between some Mike and Nick published on 4 September by the Belarusian security services. The conversation was made public with a Russian voice-over on Friday on Belarusian state TV that has provoked an avalanche of jokes and laughter on Russian and Belarusian social media.

The German government dismissed Aleksander Lukashenko's statement as being untrue. An official representative of the German government told RBC: “Of course, the statement of Aleksander Lukashenko does not correspond to reality.”

The West exploits Navalny’s case to impose sanctions on Russia

The case of the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is exploited by the West to impose sanctions against Moscow. Russia is unnecessarily and falsely accused. If that was the goal, the Russian state had many ways to get rid of Navalny. It could have orchestrated a delayed hospitalisation or send a killer to finish the job at the Omsk clinic. It could have also used a more effective poison or just set up an accident, instead of risking failure.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Navalny poisoning.

A prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. Initially hospitalized in Omsk,  at the request of his family he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin.