Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK (15)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russians follow predictable pattern. Further bragging about how how the attack aided in the Russian election campaign (which it probably did given common xenophobia and envy of the West in Russia).

SECSTATE Johnson does excellent interview for DW. UK hits RF in Geneva arms control meeting. Yesterday’s NATO and EU briefs produced good position statements, but EU statement was actively sabotaged by Greece (no surprises). US HoR, Canada, Germany (with SDP sabotage), NZ support UK. Swedes and Czechs call in Russian ambassadors to complain. More on Ukrainian offer to take UK diplomats. No major developments in investigation or condition of victims.

Some very interesting OpEds, mostly from US and UK authors.

Three Western apologists defend Putin. More criticisms of Corbyn.

Russia Credits the West for Putin’s Big Victory – The New York Times

Officials said Western pressure had galvanized “the consolidation and unification” of support for the Russian president in Sunday’s presidential vote.

Russia Blasts ‘Intellectually Impotent’ British Minister in Aftermath of Ex-Spy’s Poisoning

“[Williamson’s comment] perfectly characterizes the degree of his intellectual impotence,” Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement cited by the RBC business portal Thursday. “All this confirms not only the worthlessness of London’s accusations against Russia that we have been hearing for the past few years, but also the total worthlessness of the ‘accusers’ themselves,” he charged. He went on to say that “boorish comments” were the only things left “in the arsenal of her majesty’s armed forces.” Konashenkov is known for his colorful comments, which often invoke pop culture references, and has already sparred with Williamson earlier this year when he called the minister’s warning about a Russian threat against British infrastructure worthy of a Monty Python sketch, The Times reported. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seized on Konashenkov’s observation, speculating that Williamson made the comments because he was “not educated enough.” “Perhaps he wants to make history with bold statements,” Lavrov said in remarks during a press conference on Friday. Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in the U.K. tweeted that Williamson’s “frankness [is] appreciated.”

Putin calls claims Russia poisoned ex-spy ‘nonsense,’ ‘delirium’ – CNN

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday sloughed off the notion that Russia was behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, saying “any sensible person would understand that this is delirium and nonsense, it is unthinkable that we would do such a thing.”

Novichok developer stated Russia’s non-involvement in poisoning Skripal

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

The Latest: Scientist Says West Had Access to Nerve Agent |

The Latest: Scientist Says West Had Access to Nerve Agent

Zakharova: the Skripal case is part of huge plan to discredit Russia — Politics, Europe — EADaily

Russia’s Foreign Ministry is considering countermeasures to the UK’s unfriendly steps against Russia. Those measures will be taken soon, the Ministry’s Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during a briefing on Mar 15.

Russia hits back in spy poisoning row as experts called in

LONDON – Russia hit back at Britain in the spy poisoning row on Monday, demanding proof that Moscow was involved in the nerve agent attack, as international weapons

Putin ‘Not Scheduled’ To Meet With Expelled Diplomats As U.K. Mulls More Poisoning Response

Russian Vladimir Putin is not scheduled to meet with 23 Russian diplomats who have been ordered out of Britain in response to the poisoning of a former spy with a deadly nerve agent, the Kremlin sp…

Russian diplomats leaving UK today as Theresa May chairs another NSC meeting over Sergei Skripal attack | City A.M.

The 23 Russian diplomats identified by Theresa May as “undeclared intelligence officers” are leaving London today, as part of a series of measures following

Expelled Russian diplomats leave Britain in nerve agent crisis

Twenty three expelled Russian diplomats and their families left the embassy in London and headed back to Moscow on Tuesday in the deepest crisis in Russian-British relations since the Cold War sparked by a nerve agent attack in England.

Removal vans leave Russian Embassy as spies are kicked out | Daily Mail Online

Buses carrying 23 Russian diplomats suspected of spying for Vladimir Putin left the embassy this morning as the group were sent back to Moscow.

Boris Johnson: Russia′s position in Skripal case is ′increasingly bizarre′ | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 20.03.2018

In an exclusive interview with DW’s Zhanna Nemtsova, UK Foreign Secretary Johnson says why London thinks Russia is responsible for the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal. He spoke of “bitter” experiences with the Kremlin. DW: Mr. Johnson, some days ago you said that it was extremely likely that President Putin personally ordered the use of a nerve agent to attack former double agent Sergei Skripal. What do you and the British Parliament have as evidence to support this view? Boris Johnson:I think it’s very important first of all to show that we think the culprits for this are not the Russian people, not Russia. We have no quarrel with Russia. These are issues with the Kremlin and with the Russian state as it currently is. And the reason I said what I did was that if you look at the stuff that’s been used, it is a Novichok agent, according to our scientists at Porton Down. You also have to consider that Sergei Skripal is somebody who is being identified as a target for a liquidation and that Vladimir Putin has himself said that traitors, i.e. defectors such as Mr. Skripal, should be poisoned. So it’s a Russian-only nerve agent. Do you have any solid evidence that Putin directly ordered it? Because what you said is the most direct accusation of Russia’s leader ever.

TODAYonline | Britain and U.S. clash with Russia at U.N. arms control forum over nerve attack

GENEVA – Britain accused Russia of spreading “half-truths and half-lies” in a U.N. debate on Tuesday over a nerve toxin attack on a Russian double agent, while Russian officials quoted British opposition politicians to raise doubts about the allegations. Britain accuses Moscow of using the Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent Novichok in an attack on former Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who are critically ill in hospital, a charge which Russia has denied. Russian diplomats told the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva that Britain was not living up to its obligations by failing to share evidence with Moscow on the case and said Russia should be considered innocent until proven guilty. “We would note that even the leader of the (British opposition) Labour party Jeremy Corbyn has asked to have at least a parliamentary appraisal of the investigation, but he has also received negative response, and I don’t need to comment any further on this,” Denis Davydov, a Russian representative, said. Russia’s destruction of its chemical weapons after the fall of the Soviet Union had been verified, and Russia had not conducted any research into Novichok although research continued in Britain and possibly in many other countries, he said.

UK PM May says only conclusion is Russian state behind spy poisoning

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday Russia was to blame for the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, rejecting denials from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Prime Minister softens on Russia sanctions over Salisbury attack  | Daily Mail Online

Theresa May is to soft-pedal on demands for new EU sanctions against Russia when she meets with her National Security Council to discuss their next steps.

Britain wins fresh EU, NATO support over nerve attack

Britain’s foreign minister won further support from the European Union and NATO on Monday over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent as he denounced Moscow’s denials of involvement as “increasingly absurd”.

EU, NATO Chide Russia On Skripal Poisoning, Slow Response

EU foreign ministers and the head of NATO have strongly condemned the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Britain, and offered London “solidarity” over the attack.

NATO – Opinion: Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, 19-Mar.-2018

Foreign Secretary Johnson, my friend Boris, Welcome to the NATO Headquarters and it’s really a pleasure to meet you today, here, and thank you also for updating me on the latest developments in the Salisbury investigation. The attack in Salisbury was the first use of a nerve agent on Alliance territory. It showed total disrespect for human lives. And the attack was an unacceptable breach of international norms and rules. NATO Allies have been united in condemning this attack. And they have offered their support to the ongoing investigation. Russia’s response so far has demonstrated a clear disregard for international peace and security. We continue to call on Russia to provide complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. And we welcome the UK’s cooperation with the OPCW in the investigation of this horrendous attack. The attack in Salisbury comes at the background of a pattern of reckless behaviour of Russia. And NATO is responding to this pattern of behaviour. We have seen the illegal annexation of Crimea, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We have seen Russia’s continued efforts to destabilise Eastern Ukraine. And we have seen that Russia continues to interfere in our democratic political processes and undermine our democratic institutions. We have seen different types of hybrid tactics including cyber attacks. NATO’s approach to Russia is firm, defensive and proportionate. It combines strong deterrence and defence with openness to a meaningful dialogue. So Foreign Secretary, thank you once again for coming here. Russia will continue to seek to divide us. But NATO Allies stand united. And we stand in solidarity with the UK. So welcome.

NATO – Pressrelease: Visit to NATO by the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, 19-Mar.-2018

The NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg will meet the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP, at NATO HQ on Monday, 19 March 2018.

Allies “Entering a New World” in Confronting Russia, U.K. Official Says « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

A British defense official talks about an age of competition among great powers, putting the Ministry of Defense on the same page as its Pentagon colleagues

House of Commons unanimously passes motion condemning Russian chemical attack in the U.K. – iPolitics


The Latest: German, Polish Leaders Back UK After Poisoning | World News | US News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says there’s serious information pointing to Russia’s responsibility in the poisoning in Britain of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter, and that the duty now lies with Moscow to prove that it wasn’t involved.

Skripal’s case – Skripal’s case: Sweden summons Russian Ambassador to meeting –

Skripal case

Sweden summons Russian ambassador over spy poison claim | World | | Pindi

STOCKHOLM: Sweden said Monday it had summoned Russia’s ambassador for talks after Moscow suggested the Scandinavian country may have produced a deadly nerve agent to poison a former Russian spy in Britain. Foreign ministry spokesman Per Enerud confirmed media reports that the ambassador had been summoned to a meeting to take place at the ministry on Tuesday, prompted by the allegation. “Yes that is correct,” he told AFP. The Kremlin made the accusation after denying allegations by London and allies that it was behind the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury. “The most likely source of this chemical attack are the countries that, since the end of the 1990s.

UAWire – Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summons Russian ambassador over Kremlin statements regarding Novichok poison

SVT Nyheter reports that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden has summoned the Russian Ambassador in connection with statements made by …

Sweden to summon Russian ambassador over nerve toxin claim – International – World – Ahram Online

The Swedish foreign ministry said it would summon Russia’s ambassador on Tuesday over Moscow’s claim that Sweden could be the source of a nerve toxin used in the Skripal attack in Britain. Britain accuses Russia of being behind the attack in Salisbury on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy for the West, and his daughter Yulia, using the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. Moscow has poured scorn on the allegations and a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Saturday the most likely source of the agent was Britain itself, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United States or Sweden. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom has called that claim “unacceptable and unfounded”. “Russia’s ambassador will be summoned to the foreign ministry tomorrow on account of the Russian accusations that Sweden could be a source of the nerve toxin used in the attempted murder in Salisbury,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday

Sweden considering diplomatic snub of Russia World Cup – The Local

Sweden is one of several Nordic countries considering not sending officials to the Russia World Cup in support of the UK’s partial boycott.

TASS: World – Russian ambassador summoned to Czech Foreign Ministry over Skripal case

The Czech defense and foreign ministers said that statements the nerve gas Novichok might have Czech origin were groundless

EU demands Russia urgently hands over all information on Novichok nerve agent programme – To Inform is to Influence

Even I can see that this “demand” will never be met.   What is a leap ahead is that the EU is taking a stand against Russia. Many news reports are portraying the EU as overrun with pro-Russian representatives. This demand says the complete opposite.  Six more years of Putin.  In the words of Rodney Dangerfield,…

EU Pushes Putin on Spy Poisoning Investigation – WSJ

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government must cooperate with investigations into the suspected nerve agent attack on British soil, European Union foreign ministers urged, as the U.K. tries to drum up international support for a tough line against Moscow.

EU offers ‘unqualified solidarity’ to UK over Russia toxin case

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday called on Russia to answer questions on the use of a toxin against one of its former spies in Britain and offered London “unqualified solidarity”.

Divided EU stops short of directly blaming Russia for Salisbury nerve agent attack | News | The Times

Britain received backing from the EU over the Salisbury poisoning yesterday but only after Greece weakened a joint statement at the last minute. EU foreign ministers declared the bloc “takes extremely seriously” Britain’s claim that Russia was responsible and called on the Kremlin “to address urgen

Germany torpedoes EU sanctions on its ‘important partner’ Russia after Salisbury nerve agent attack

GERMANY yesterday kyboshed hopes of new EU sanctions to punish Russia by branding it just “a bilateral issue” between London and Moscow. Despite universal outrage over the Salisbury attack, Berlin’s new Socialist foreign minister also insisted on calling Russia “an important partner”.

Why EU leaders are unlikely to severely punish Russia over spy attack

Divided interests among EU states will likely impede a uniform response toward Russia over the nerve attack on Sergei Skripal in the UK.

Bipartisan resolution condemns Russian chemical weapons attack in United Kingdom – Homeland Preparedness News


NZ Prime Minister backs United Kingdom over Russia nerve-agent allegations | Newshub

She said Russia’s response has been “cynical, sarcastic and inadequate”. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the recent chemical weapon attack in the United Kingdom is “a serious affront to accepted global norms”. Ms Ardern said New Zealand supports a joint statement made by the UK, US, Germany and France that condemns the attack and the response from Russia.

Former British prime minister John Major says ‘Russia is behaving like a rogue nation’

“The British experience suggests Russia will also use murder as a sanction in other countries’ territories,” John Major said.

Ukraine: Send British diplomats expelled by Russia to Kiev – POLITICO

Ukrainian foreign minister urges Boris Johnson to consider redeploying personnel in message to Kremlin.

Parubiy calls Putin “international criminal” – news about politics

Parubiy said the Russian aggressor had deliberately chosen March 18 as an election date.

Johnson: Russia’s Denial About Poisoning ‘Increasingly Absurd’

British FM said ‘technical experts’ from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will be in Britain Monday to take samples of the poison

Boris Johnson Says Russian Denials On The Salisbury Spy Poisoning Are Growing “Increasingly Absurd”

International chemical weapons experts test the poison used on Sergei Skripal.

Why Russia is wrong to claim that Britain violated the Chemical Weapons Convention after Skripal spy attack

A legal expert explains why Russia’s accusations that the UK breached internation law are unfounded.

Novichok Stockpiling: Lethal Nerve Agent Used In Poisoning Ex-Spy Allegedly Stashed In Russia’s Secret Labs

Following the attack on a former intelligence operative, Russia is facing allegations of stockpiling the lethal nerve agent Novichok in its military labs. Russia is in the hot seat for allegedly …

U.K. attack shines spotlight on deadly nerve agent developed by Soviet scientists | Science | AAAS

Researchers race to understand one of the most toxic poisons ever created

FBI have thwarted 4 [Russian] plots to sell dirty bombs to Islamist extremists | Daily Mail Online

The four plots foiled since 2010 have all originated in Moldova, where investigators believe gangs with links to the Russian secret police (FSB) run a ‘nuclear black market’. Western security experts fear Russian chemical weapons will be offered for sale on black market Lax security in countries like Moldova raises chilling spectre of Islamic extremists getting hold of nerve agents like one used against Sergei Skripal Four plots to sell radioactive material to Islamic extremists have been foiled

UK police say it may be ‘many months’ before they know what really happened to Sergei Skripal | Business Insider


Whoever murdered the Putin critic who warned he was on a Russian hit list didn’t break in, and didn’t use poison | Business Insider

Nikolai Glushkov was found dead at his home in London last week, and police believe he was murdered. Glushkov had warned for years that he was being targeted by the Russian state. In an update on the case, police said nobody broke into his home. His death came shortly after spy Sergei Skripal was poisoned in Salisbury.

Vehicle used to pick up Yulia Skripal from airport seized for forensic tests

The vehicle used to pick up Yulia Skripal from Heathrow when she arrived in the UK from Moscow has been seized by the military for forensic testing.

The Latest: British military examine car tied to ex-spy case | WTOP


Piers Morgan angrily confronts Russian adviser Alexander Nekrassov who claims there is no proof Sergei Skripal was attacked

The Russian adviser was compared to a “performing seal” for Putin after he made a series of bizarre claims on Good Morning Britain

‘I worry for my family’: Russian exile’s safety fears after Glushkov death | UK news | The Guardian

Anti-Putin campaigner in London considers hiring private security guards after murder of fellow exile

In dealing with Russia, May has shown herself a politician not a statesman | Letters | UK news | The Guardian

Letters: Edwin Apps and Lord Greaves find fault with the prime minister’s handling of the Skripal poisoning

Sergei Skripal Poisoning: How Trump & Brexit Got Dragged into That Story | National Review

Sergei Skripal Poisoning: How Trump & Brexit Got Dragged into That Story

Why did Russia poison one of its ex-spies in Britain? – The Washington Post

There are three main theories: Russian agents got sloppy; the Kremlin is sending an international message; and the Kremlin is warning its own people not to defect.

Britain must wean itself off Russia’s dirty money | Comment | The Times

Vladimir Putin has been elected president of Russia for a fourth term amid gloating claims that his turnout was boosted by Britain’s furious reaction to the poisoning in Salisbury of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.While there’s no conclusive proof, it seems overwhelmingly likely that the attack was sancti

Anne Applebaum: One reason Putin treats us with disdain | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The West has been happy to recycle Russian money without asking too many questions. “Londongrad” is the nickname, not entirely affectionate, that wealthy Russians have bestowed upon Britain’s capital. The term doesn’t just designate a physical place, though many Russians do indeed live here. Londongrad is more properly a state of mind — encompassing not only the nonresident owners of large houses in Kensington, but also the British institutions, banks, law firms, accountants, private schools, art galleries and even the Conservative Party fundraisers that have gone out of their way to accommodate them. Londongrad can be a place of bizarre contrasts. A few years ago, I found myself standing on the sideline of a school’s rugby pitch, watching small boys tackle one another in the mud. All around me were the green fields of England; cows were grazing in the middle distance. Huddled on the sidelines, a group of men — presumably parents of some of the small boys — were arguing loudly, in Russian, about large sums of money. Equally weird was a walk with friends in rural Hampshire, past the gates of a vast estate. Although registered to a company called Skymist Holdings, the house was in fact owned by Elena Baturina, a Russian business executive who became enormously rich while her husband, Yuri Luzhkov, was the mayor of Moscow. The locals knew the owner’s identity because they had seen Mr. Luzhkov at the pub. These incongruities were produced by a tacit deal: For two decades, the British establishment has agreed not to think too hard about where the Russians got their money — how cash was stolen from the state, recycled in the West, then used to help bring Vladimir Putin and his ex-KGB colleagues to power. In return, the Russians spent a lot of that money in Britain, to the benefit of the British.

UK is infused with Russian money, making a crackdown hard – The Washington Post

As Prime Minister Theresa May solemnly told a packed House of Commons last week that she would expel 23 Russian diplomats over the nerve-agent attack on a former spy, British investors across town were lending millions of dollars to Moscow’s state-controlled natural gas giant, Gazprom.

How to wipe the smirk off Putin’s face | New York Post

Moscow is still claiming it’s not behind the poisoning attack on former Russian spy/British double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia — and,…

Toothless Gestures Won’t Stop Putin – WSJ

While Washington dreamed of an orderly world, revisionist powers upended it.

We are only as powerless as we want to be | Newsday

The West must directly confront Russia’s attacks.

Revenge, rows and a crumbling economy – what to expect from another six years of Putin

The Russian president is back in office after winning the vote with a suspiciously comfortable majority of 76.67 per cent

The nerve agent attack in England was a message to the rest of the world – The Verge

On March 4th, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were hospitalized after collapsing in Salisbury, England. They had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. The UK, US, France, and Germany blame Russia for the attack. But what message was the assassination attempt supposed to send?

Why Putin is so brazen | Dhaka Tribune

The West has consistently failed to respond to Russian assertiveness in recent years

To Russia With Caution

Tensions between the West and Russia are ratcheting up in the wake of the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal. The heightened hostilities will make day-to-day operations more challenging for foreign companies, nongovernmental organizations and journalists working in Russia. In addition to the threat of government surveillance and harassment, foreigners will likely be the targets of increased violence from nationalists and nationalist gangs.

Russian envoy offers excellent advice on UK spy poisoning 

Re: “Russian Ambassador rebuts accusations in UK ex-spy poisoning case”, Have Your Say, March 18.

Has Britain jumped the gun on Russia’s culpability? |

UK should produce convincing proof that Russia carried out the Salisbury nerve gas attack

Did Putin Order the Salisbury Hit? | The American Conservative

Russian spy Sergei Skripal murder Putin Russia wife | Politics | News |

THE WIDOW of poisoned former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko yesterday criticised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his failure to condemn Vladimir Putin.

Corbyn: I would still do business with Putin despite Skripal attack | UK news | The Guardian

UK should wait for evidence before taking further measures against Russia, says Labour leader

Russia should be at ‘bottom of list’ of suspects in Sergei Skripal poisoning says George Galloway and accuses Theresa May of not producing ‘scintilla of evidence’

Former Labour MP claimed there was no reason for Putin to be behind the Salisbury attack, saying he does not believe the ‘official story’