Disinfo: Western governments could have produced Novichok to poison Navalny

Summary

Once again bold-faced lies about Novichok as “evidence”.

Apart from the fact that there are plenty of very reasonable, even compelling doubts about this brazen claim, there follows a clumsy lie in the very next paragraph, but one that is important for the Western narrative of the evil Russians.

[…]

One of the Soviet co-developers of the Novichok group’s poisons has been living in the USA for years. The USA had dismantled the Soviet Novichok production site in Uzbekistan in the 1990s, with the OPCW excluded. The British secret military agent laboratory in Porton Down, a few kilometres from the site of the attack on former Soviet double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, is also capable of producing Novichok. And the Swedish military laboratory in Umeå surprised (everyone) in the Navalny case by announcing that it had reference samples of Novichok, which it did not have in the Skripal case. Anyone who can detect Novichok from alleged Russian production as reliably as Western governments can, should also be able to produce any quantity of this poison, especially since the “recipe” is known.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory.

In September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction of the 39,967 tons of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and were not included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019.

After the poisoning of Sergey and Yuliya Skripal with Novichok in Salisbury in 2018, Dr. Vil Mirzayanov said that “many countries could have had test samples, but production was only refined in the U.S.S.R. and Russia” and that Russia had to be behind the attempt on the Skripals because it “is the country that invented it, has the experience, turned it into a weapon... has fully mastered the cycle.”

Most of what we understand of Novichok agents comes from testimony and memoirs of Dr Vil S. Mirzayanov, the Chief of the Department of Counteraction against Foreign Technical Intelligence at the Russian State Union Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) who authored a 1994 report with the Stimson Centre describing the state of chemical weapon disarmament in Russia, revealing Novichok's existence. Mirzayanov said that only Russia would have the capability to deploy the agent.

Later on, in 1998, the US National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, added Novichok to its spectral data which has 300,000 compounds and is regularly updated.

A recently published year-long investigation by Bellingcat has discovered evidence that Russia continued its Novichok development programme long beyond the officially announced closure date.

There are also other cases following the same trend of disputing Navalny's poisoning and the use of Novichok by Russian state operatives, which can be found here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/12/2020
  • Outlet language(s)
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: West, Alexei Navalny
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The prosecutor fulfils an order for the legal demonisation of Russia in the Ukrainian conflict. And she does it legally so rudely that there is no doubt about the unscrupulous nature of her actions.

The individuals who committed a coup d’etat in the country and used violence against a part of their own population are regarded in The Hague as legitimate authority!

Disproof

This is an example of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and, in particular, the examination by the International Criminal Court of the crimes committed in Ukraine during the 2013-2014 protests in Crimea and Donbas.

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) did not demonise Russia. The Prosecutor did not call Russia an occupying power in Crimea or Donbas. In the statement, the Prosecutor mentioned that in order to establish the truth, the ICC is going to cooperate with the authorities of Ukraine and Russia equally.

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Disproof

A narrative, overstating the cooperation between the Gamaleya Research Institute and British AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca's Russian subsidiary announced that it plans to begin a clinical trial programme to assess the safety and immunogenicity of a combination of COVID-19 vaccines (AZD1222, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and Sputnik V, developed by Russian Gamaleya Research institute).

Sanctions are unproductive because Russia is not a part in the Ukrainian conflict

Heads of EU Member States agreed to extend sanctions against Russia. The relations between Moscow and West had deteriorated due to the situation in Ukraine. After the referendum, Crimea became part of the Russian Federation. West accused Russia of interference into affairs of Ukraine and implemented sanctions against Moscow. Russia answered and changed the vector of import. Russian authorities stressed that negotiations with Russia from positions of sanctions are unproductive. Russia many times affirmed that it does not participate in the Ukrainian conflict and is not a side in Minsk peace agreements.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine, illegal annexation of Crimea and Western sanctions against Russia.

Crimea is a part of Ukraine, however, it was illegally annexed by Russia. The so-called referendum of March 16, 2014, was illegitimate under international law. No international body recognises it. Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.