Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK (16)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russians hold  “briefing” for foreign diplomats, which as expected was a tirade of blameshifting and invective directed at the UK.

SECSTATE Johnson briefs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee in Parliament. More reports on support, and lack thereof, for the UK. SECDEF Mattis and Amb Haley comment. Media reporting the US preparing options list of measures to punish Russia for attack. Jean-Claude Juncker appears to be aiming to sabotage EU in this matter.

Russian emigre public comments.

Jeremy Corbyn targeted by UK media.

Russian official claims Britain is responsible for nerve agent attack on former spy | The Independent

A Russian Foreign Ministry official has suggested Britain may have poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal. “Logic suggests” the UK might have orchestrated the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, claimed Vladimir Yermakov, head of the ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department.  In provocative comments, he said the only alternative conclusion was that UK authorities were “not able to provide protection from… a terrorist attack on their soil”.

Moscow: UK is Either Unable to Protect From Attack or Staged Skripal Attack – Sputnik International

The Russian Foreign Ministry and Russian Defense Ministry have jointly delivered a statement after a meeting with foreign envoys amid the scandal surrounding the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

Russia slams Britain’s ‘island mentality’ in Salisbury spy poisoning rant

The Kremlin escalates the war of words over the Salisbury poisoning, as chemical weapons inspectors are spotted at the scene. Moscow has accused Britain of “Russophobia” and having an “island mentality” in a remarkable escalation of the war of words over the Salisbury spy poisoning. During a meeting of foreign ambassadors to give Russia’s view of the nerve agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the Kremlin claimed: :: Britain either was not able to prevent a “terrorist attack” from happening on its soil or “orchestrated” the poisoning :: The UK was “hiding facts” and could destroy evidence :: The affair was evidence of Britain’s “Russophobia” and “island mentality” :: The chemical weapon novichok was not used, saying people would have died straight away if that had been the case Vladimir Yermakov, head of the ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department, made the claims in the meeting on Wednesday, which both Britain and the US refused to attend.

Russia accuses UK of hiding evidence in Salisbury nerve… | Daily Mail Online

A senior Russian official says it is up to the British authorities to explain what happened on their territory. Russia has accused Britain of deliberate concealing evidence in the escalating war of words over the Salisbury nerve agent attack. The Russian foreign ministry head of non-proliferation and arms control insisted Moscow bore no responsibility for the incident and dismissed British demands for an explanation as “absurd”. At a “briefing” for foreign diplomats in Moscow, Vladimir Yermakov questioned whether the incident, which left former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, fighting for their lives even involved a nerve agent.

Moscow fears London could destroy evidence in ex-spy’s case – San Francisco Chronicle

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian foreign ministry official said on Wednesday that Moscow fears Britain could destroy key evidence in the nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy. Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition in the English city of Salisbury after being found unconscious on a public bench on March 4. Britain says they were poisoned with a nerve agent known as Novichok and has blamed Russia for being behind the attack, but Russia has fiercely denied any involvement.

The Latest: Russia pushes for joining ex-spy investigation – New Haven Register

5:55 p.m. A senior Russian diplomat says Moscow wants to take part in an investigation into the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain, saying Russia’s involvement is essential to finding the truth. Britain has blamed Russia for poisoning Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent, accusations Moscow has denied. Vladimir Yermakov, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s department for non-proliferation, said at a briefing with foreign diplomats that “it’s necessary to present arguments and move jointly toward conclusions,” urging Britain to “come forward and open all the data.” He criticized Britain and its Western allies for blaming Russia for the poisoning without providing any evidence. He scoffed at expressions of Western solidarity, saying they are meaningless in the absence of proof.

The Latest: Russia pushes for joining ex-spy investigation | The Sacramento Bee

A senior Russian diplomat says Moscow wants to take part in an investigation into the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain, saying Russia’s involvement is essential to finding the truth.

Kremlin condemns British ambassador’s decision to skip spy briefing

Moscow, Mar. 21 (Petra)– The Kremlin said that a decision by the British ambassador to skip a Russian briefing on the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain showed London was unwilling to listen to Moscow’s side of the story. The nerve agent attack in England has plunged ties between London and Moscow into their worst crisis since the Cold War. Britain has blamed Russia for the attack, something Moscow denies, and both have expelled diplomats in the standoff. A British embassy spokesman said on Wednesday that the UK ambassador, Laurie Bristow, would not attend the briefing with arms controls experts at the Russian Foreign Ministry, but that London was considering sending someone else.

Russian denial of secret nerve agent program seemingly contradicted by own state media – ABC News

Russia has denied the existence of the so-called Novichok program.

Russian chemical weapons specialist denies Moscow involvement in Salisbury attack | World | News |

A RUSSIAN chemical weapons expert claims he has evidence to show Moscow was not to blame for the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia – and insists the fact they are still alive proves it.

Britain Could Have ‘Easily’ Developed Nerve Agent Linked to Ex-Spy’s Poisoning, Russian Scientist Says

Britain could have developed a lethal nerve agent linked to the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in England according to a Russian chemical scientist thought to be one of the makers of the military-grade nerve agent. Britain has blamed Moscow for the March 4 poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury with a Novichok-class nerve agent, a claim that Moscow denies. The Foreign Office called the denial “increasingly absurd” while the Kremlin demanded an apology “sooner or later” if London failed to back up its assertions.

Russia’s foreign minister threatens to ‘hit back’ at Britain over response to nerve agent attack

Russia&rsquo;s foreign minister threatened on Wednesday to retaliate against Britain for &quot;anti-Russian measures&quot;, with the two countries at loggerheads over the poisoning of a spy in southern England.

Russia hits back at Britain in spy poisoning row | The Chronicle


Russia says regrets EU comments on UK spy attack

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday it regretted comments made at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Monday about the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Britain.

Russian anger over Sturgeon spy attack response – BBC News

Officials accuse the Scottish government of offering unequivocal support to a “hostile standoff”. Russia has criticised the Scottish government over its response to the Salisbury nerve gas attack. The consulate in Edinburgh said the Scottish authorities had “unequivocally” supported a “hostile standoff” with Russia. Russia denies being behind an assassination attempt on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has backed the UK government’s decision to expel Russian diplomats.

Russian spies fly home on Air Cocaine: Putin sends controversial VIP plane at the centre of major drug smuggling row to pick up 23 expelled spies

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

Russia, a Founder of a Chemical Arms Watchdog, Is Now in Its Cross Hairs – The New York Times

Six months ago, chemical weapons experts celebrated Russia’s disarmament. Now they are investigating Britain’s allegation of a secret weapons program.

Skripal Poisoning: If Not Russia, Then…:The many theories of who used a Russian nerve agent in England

By DFRLab Ever since the British media began suggesting that Russia was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal with a rare nerve agent on March 4, theories have swirled over who else might have done it, especially via pro-Kremlin outlets. The conspiracy-based speculation intensified on March 14, after British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that the UK government held the Russian state responsible. Pro-Kremlin outlets have a long history of broadcasting unorthodox, and sometimes conspiratorial, theories when Russia is accused of violating international law. Here, we present some of the main theories circulating on English-language outlets, especially Russian state-owned outlets.

The Russian playbook: Deny, accuse and insult

Russia suggests there is no novichok – and any assertion to the contrary is propaganda pumped out by traitorous former citizens.

LIVE: Boris Johnson accuses Vladimir Putin of sanctioning Salisbury poisoning to win election

All the latest updates as the Foreign Secretary fields questions from the Foreign Affairs committee in Parliament.

Salisbury spy attack: ‘Sign from Putin’ says Johnson – BBC News

Boris Johnson says the attack was a warning to defectors that they can “expect to be assassinated”. The Salisbury spy attack was “a sign” from President Putin that “no one could escape the long arm of Russian revenge”, the foreign secretary said. Boris Johnson told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee that Russia wanted defectors to know what would happen to them if they supported another country. He also claimed they chose the UK for the attack because it has “called out” Russian abuses “time and again”. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in a critical condition. The former military intelligence officer and his daughter were found slumped on a bench and unconscious on 4 March. Mr Johnson told the committee: “[The attack] was a sign that President Putin or the Russian state wanted to give to potential defectors in their own agencies: ‘This is what happens to you if you decide to support a country with a different set of values, such as our own. You can expect to be assassinated’.” He repeated comments from fellow Conservative MP, Ken Clarke, who described the use of the nerve agent Novichok as a “Russian signature on the deed”. “By using a specific type of nerve agent known to be developed in Russia, it was a sign that no former Russian agent was immune and no-one could escape the long arm of Russian revenge,” added the foreign secretary. He also claimed the UK was chosen for the attack because of its “particular set of values”. Mr Johnson said the UK believes “in freedom and in democracy, and in the rule of law, and has time and again called out Russia over its abuses of those values. “It is Britain that has been most forthright and most obstinate in sticking up for our values and I think that is the reason it was decided to make that gesture in this country.”

The Latest: UK says spy-attack blame goes to top of Kremlin | WTOP

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy (all times local): 5:25 p.m. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Russia carried out a nerve-agent attack on British soil because the U.K. has “time and again called out Russia over its abuses” of human rights and democratic values. Britain claims the Russian state was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok, a Soviet-developed type of nerve agent. Russia denies involvement in the March 4 attack in the English city of Salisbury. Johnson told a committee of lawmakers that responsibility leads “back to the Russian state and those at the top.” Britain and Russia have expelled 23 of each other’s diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to the attack, and Britain is seeking to rally allies for new measures against Moscow. Johnson said the nerve-agent attack had prompted “a mountain of disgust globally.” He said he had been pleasantly surprised “at the strength of the solidarity that there is with the U.K.”

British Ambassador Will Not Attend Russian Ministry Meeting on Skripal

Britain’s ambassador to Moscow will skip a Russian Foreign Ministry briefing on the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain, an embassy spokesman said on Wednesday. The Foreign Ministry has invited foreign ambassadors to attend a meeting with arms control experts later on Wednesday to discuss British allegations that Moscow was responsible for the poisoning in southern England, something Russia denies. “The ambassador will not attend and we are considering whether to send a representative at working level,” the embassy spokesman said. “It’s another vivid example of the absurd situation when questions are asked and an unwillingness to hear even any answers is demonstrated,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. Speaking on a visit to Japan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Wednesday that Russia wanted Britain to tell it where Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were currently located.® – US Ambassador to Moscow Will Skip Spy Poisoning Briefing

The U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman will skip a special Russian briefing on the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain, Russian news agencies reported, citing the U.S. embassy in Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry has invited foreign ambassadors to attend a meeting with arms control experts later on Wednesday to discuss British allegations that Moscow was responsible for the poisoning in southern England, something Russia…

Russian agents learn from Litvinenko errors to devise hit on Sergei Skripal that leaves police baffled

Russian intelligence learnt from the Alexander Litvinenko murder to devise a near perfect assassination method that has left British police still puzzled over how Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned.

Tests of substance in UK attack on ex-Russian spy to take 3 weeks: agency

Experts with an international chemical weapons watchdog were sent to Britain following an attack on a former Russian spy in Salisbury, and the results of the analysis will take about three weeks, the agency’s head said on Tuesday.

Russian deadly poison creator reveals Skripals only ‘technically alive’ | Daily Star

A SCIENTIST at the heart of the lethal Novichok chemical weapons programme has revealed the Russian spy and his daughter poisoned by the nerve agent are only “technically alive”.

Checks on flights by wealthy foreign travellers stepped up following Salisbury attack – iNews

Britain is focusing on moves which wealthy Russians will experience personally as well as building international support for action following the Salisbury attack.

Jean-Claude Juncker faces criticism for ‘nauseating’ letter to Vladimir Putin | News | The Times

Jean-Claude Juncker threatened to scupper British efforts to establish a Europe-wide alliance against Russia yesterday by congratulating Vladimir Putin and urging closer ties.Mr Juncker, president of the European Commission, wished Mr Putin “every success” in his fourth term as president and made no

EU’s Juncker Follows France, Germany in Congratulating Putin | World News | US News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s chief executive has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his reelection, saying that Russia and Europe should “reestablish a cooperative pan-European security order”. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker published the letter on his Twitter account on Tuesday, echoing the call for dialogue by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in their messages of congratulation. “Our common objective should be to re-establish a cooperative pan-European security order,” Juncker wrote. “I hope that you will use your fourth term in office to pursue this goal,” he said, adding: “I will always be a partner in this endeavor.”

The Latest: Merkel urges Russian transparency in ex-spy case | World |

4:25 p.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for “transparency from Russia” over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain. Britain has blamed Russia for being behind the March 4 poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The case prompted the two nations to expel diplomats in a tit-for-tat dispute. Merkel emphasized Germany’s solidarity with Britain in a speech to lawmakers in Berlin on Wednesday. She said that “a lot of evidence points to Russia and so transparency from Russia is required to quell the suspicion.” Merkel added: “I would be happy if I didn’t have to name Russia here, but we can’t disregard evidence because we don’t want to name Russia.”

Jim Mattis points to UK poisoning, calls Russia ‘strategic competitor’ – The Financial Express

Russia’s suspected involvement in the poisoning of a former double agent and his daughter in Britain shows Moscow has “chosen to be a strategic competitor,” US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis suggested today.

Haley blames Russian Federation for poisoning ex-spy in UK

Britain will brief members of the U.N. Security Council Wednesday on an alleged chemical weapons attack on an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury on March 4. Haley continued, “A growing concern in all of this risky and destabilizing activity is Russian Federation”. “We consider the British position absolutely irresponsible with regard to diplomatic relations, as well as final goals and interests of a real investigation and search for the people who are behind this and from the point of view of violation of the worldwide law by the British side, which is also obvious”, Peskov said. “So, the chance that perhaps some of these Novichoks have been stolen by criminals or terrorists from Russia is a possibility, and we wait to see an explanation from the Russian Ambassador to London tomorrow, but I think highly unlikely”. Haley said in remarks before the Security Council that the US and United Kingdom hold a special bond and that Washington will always defend London. Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation between Britain and Russia, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at United Nations headquarters. “They have very little to do with each other”. Expressing solidarity with the UK, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has warned that if concrete measures were not initiated, “Russia will use chemical weapons here in NY or in cities of any country that sits on this Council”. “Haley’s comments just show that continues to be the case, because it’s a completely different tone and substance than what Trump has said this week, which has been much more conditional and hesitant”. Newburgh Gazette

Trump admin considering expelling Russian diplomats over UK poisoning – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump’s National Security Council has drawn up a range of options should the President decide to take action against Russia after the poisonings of a former spy and his daughter on UK soil, according to multiple State Department officials and a person familiar with the discussion.

State Dept. officials say Trump admin considering expelling Russian diplomats over UK poisoning | WGOW-AM


Britain Rebukes Israel Over Russia Condemnation – Jewish News | Israel News | Israel Politics

YERUSHALAYIM – In a rare rebuke, Britain expressed dissatisfaction with the Israeli condemnation of the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy on British soil earlier this month. “We expect strong statements of support from all our close partners, Israel included,” the British embassy in Israel said on Tuesday, indicating that the Israeli statement had fallen short of that. The Israeli statement, released a day after Britain specifically requested it join other allies in an official condemnation of Russian violation of British sovereignty, was conspicuously devoid of any mention of the culprit in the Kremlin. “Israel views with gravity the event which took place in Great Britain and condemns it vigorously,” the statement said. “We hope that the international community will cooperate in order to avoid such further events.” The deliberate vagueness of Israel’s condemnation was attributed to its positive but delicate relations with Russia, which does not take diplomatic slights lightly. Russia plays a pivotal role in Syria, where developments could have grave ramifications for Israeli security, and Yerushalayim wants to keep those relations with Moscow positive. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu congratulated newly re-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, hailing the two leaders’ “trust and understanding,” and notably refraining from any criticism of the election process, as many western officials did. “Mr. President, please accept my sincere congratulations for your victory in yesterday’s elections,” Netanyahu wrote in a letter sent to Putin, his office said. “I deeply appreciate the personal dialogue between us, and I look forward to continuing to closely work together, in the spirit of the trust and understanding between us, to promote the vital interests of our countries,” he added. The congratulatory message put Israel on the side of uncritical well-wishers like Syria, China and Turkey. By contrast, the European Union said, “We expect Russia to address the violations and shortcomings,” in the elections.

Front Bench: Britain wanted an international response to Russia, so far it isn’t getting one

Today’s Front Bench focuses on Boris Johnson and the Salisbury poisoning.

How British Savers Finance Putin’s Russia – Bloomberg

In Salisbury, where a former spy and his daughter were found poisoned, people own a stake in Russian assets.

Poisoning in Britain signals Russian reach

Deaths of father and daughter sound like something out of the Cold War but part of the challenge today.

Father of poisoned FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko discloses name of alleged murderer

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

Surviving member of five Russian exiles murdered or who died in suspicious circumstances bravely speaks out against Vladimir Putin – Mirror Online

Yuli Dubov accused the Russian president of turning his homeland into a “hybrid dictatorship threatening the world order”

From Russia, with no love for Putin | Times2 | The Times

On the eve of last Sunday’s elections in her native Russia, Jana Bakunina received a series of WhatsApp messages from her father, who lives on the outskirts of Ekaterinburg, 3,000 miles away from her north London flat. Relations between Sergey Bakunin and his daughter have been fraught for years, bu

Russian oligarch in London fatalistic about his safety from attack | World news | The Guardian

Mikhail Khodorkovsky says ‘no amount of security’ would be enough if Putin wanted him dead

England’s Nerve-Agent Attack: Jeremy Corbyn Questions Blaming Russia | National Review

The man who would be prime minister goes out of his way to avoid blaming Russia for the nerve-agent attack on the Skripals. Salisbury is the perfect location for a very English type of murder. But what happened on the fourth of this month in the cathedral city was far from a bloodless Agatha Christie crime. The poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the center of the city has landed them in the hospital, where they remain critically ill. Also hospitalized was a police detective who was one of the first officials to enter the Skripal home after the attack. The discovery that the nerve agent Novichok was used in the assassination attempt has also led dozens of residents of Salisbury, including people who dined in the same restaurant as the Skripals, to face the possibility that they too have come into contact with the nerve agent. The release of such a deadly nerve agent in a crowded city has done many things, not the least of which is to throw a clear line into the middle of Great Britain’s political and public life. Prime Minister Theresa May and her government swiftly concluded (at the advice of the intelligence agencies) that the only possible culprits could be the Russians. But the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, was never going to give up a life of allegiances that easily. Both Corbyn and his closest adviser and spokesman, Seumas Milne, are the sort of leftists who do not so much hate modern Russia as feel let down by it — failing, as it did, to hold together in its glorious USSR form.

Jeremy Corbyn says he still wants a ‘definitive answer’ on where Skripal poison came from | London Evening Standard

Jeremy Corbyn says he still wants a “definitive answer” on where the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack came from – and would work with Russia in the future. The Labour leader’s reticence in blaming Russia for the attack has caused outrage within his own party. In a new interview with the BBC today, Mr Corbyn also said he would do business with Vladimir Putin and there should be a “robust relationship” with the country.

Jeremy Corbyn mocked by his own MPs after claiming Russia should be given the right to test nerve agent itself

Jeremy Corbyn has been mocked by own MPs after saying Russia should be given a sample of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack so it can &quot;say categorically one way or the other&quot; whether it is responsible.

Jeremy Corbyn is cynically cherry-picking information in the Sergei Skripal case to further his own beliefs | The Independent

“These are things that don’t necessarily need to be true. As long as they are believed.” This was what Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, told an undercover Channel 4 News journalist as part of an exposé into the murky world of data harvesting and alleged manipulation of elections. It could turn into the defining comment of our age – an epitaph for truth.

Jeremy Corbyn used as Russia PROPAGANDA after failing to back Theresa May over Salisbury | Politics | News |

JEREMY Corbyn’s failure to support Theresa May over the Salisbury nerve agent attack is being used by the Kremlin as propaganda.

If you talk about Russian propaganda, remember: Britain has myths too | Afua Hirsch | Opinion | The Guardian

Britain suffers from cognitive dissonance when it comes to recognising our own great propagandists, like Churchill, says the Guardian columnist Afua Hirsch