Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK (19)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Two curious reports in the Times, one dealing with Russian Youtube postings about Col Skripal put up before the attack, and another on the Russian use of bots to spread confusion – both suggest prior knowledge on the part of the Russian government. The Russian propaganda campaign continues, but appears to be losing momentum, and is certainly not getting any serious traction in the West.

SECSTATE Johnson has been on target with his most recent and very accurate comparisons between Russia and the Third Reich – curiously the Russians have been apoplectic when a Western politician says this, but care not when the Ukrainian leadership or Russian emigres make exactly the same observations. PM May briefings to the EU leadership have been effective, to the extent that media are now reporting that 20 EU nations may be expelling Russian intel assets operating under diplomatic cover. Moreover, the EU is promising other measures, and Scandinavian nations are now looking at introducing their own variants of the Magnitsky Act. Debate continues over how to appropriate Russian assets in the UK.

Russians deny the claim by a friend of Skripal that he wrote to Putin pleading to return to Russia.

Skripal attack: 2,800 Russian bots ‘sowed confusion after poison attacks’ | News | The Times

Russia unleashed an “extensive” disinformation operation in Britain after the Salisbury spy attack, with thousands of suspected robotic accounts spreading doubt and conspiracy on the internet, officials believe.It is understood that an estimated 2,800 such online accounts are suspected of posting

Skripal attack: YouTube videos analysed for links to disinformation campaign | News | The Times

British officials have analysed four videos of the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal that were posted on YouTube a week before his attempted murder, The Times understands.The account that uploaded the clips, Group M, appears to be Russian, one official said. It is not known whether the posting of

Russian spy: UK accused of leading ‘anti-Russian campaign’ – BBC News

Russia said it “regrets” that EU leaders are joining UK in blaming Moscow for an attack on an ex-spy.

Russia says Europe being drawn into Anglo-American anti-Russia campaign

Russia says Europe being drawn into Anglo-American anti-Russia campaign – The EU has called back its ambassador in Moscow for consultations relating to the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain, and EU leaders have backed Britain’s assertion that Moscow is likely to blame for the poisoning.

Russian Official Says U.S., U.K. Developed ‘Novichok’ Poison Used in Sergei Skripal Attack

The back-and-forth blame has continued between British and Russian officials since the March 4 incident.

Russian Embassy says Trudeau criticism of Putin unproductive, confrontational

The Russian Embassy is firing back at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin at a news conference this week. Trudeau said on Wednesday during a Toronto press conference that Putin needs to start playing a more positive role in the world on a variety of fronts, from Ukraine

Kremlin Denies Reports, Skripal Asked Putin For Permission to Return to Russia – Sputnik International

The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied reports on Saturday that former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin in 2012 asking for permission to return to Russia.

Russia to React Immediately If US Expels Russian Diplomats – Senior Lawmaker – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Moscow will immediately take retaliatory measures if Washington decides to expel Russian diplomats, Deputy Chairman of Russian Federation Council’s Committee on International Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov told Sputnik on Saturday.

Russian ambassador pens letter to UK cop sick from nerve agent, says ‘it wasn’t us’

Russian ambassador pens letter to UK cop sick from nerve agent, says ‘it wasn’t us’ – The Russian ambassador to Britain has written to a policeman exposed to a nerve agent during the poisoning of a former Russian spy in southwest England, insisting on Moscow’s innocence and thanking him for his bravery.

Russia-UK war of words over ex-spy’s poisoning gets uglier – ABC News

The war of words between Russia and Britain over an ex-spy’s poisoning got uglier Wednesday as the U.K. foreign secretary called it vomit-inducing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is rejoicing over hosting the World Cup. Russia shot back that Boris Johnson is “poisoned with venom of malice and hate.” The heated exchange came in the deepening diplomatic crisis over the March 4 poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Britain maintains Russia used a military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok in the attack, which left the father and daughter in critical condition. Moscow has fiercely denied involvement. Johnson on Wednesday repeated Britain’s position that responsibility for the poisoning leads “back to the Russian state and those at the top.” He added that the attack had prompted “a mountain of disgust globally,” and that he had been pleasantly surprised “at the strength of the solidarity that there is with the U.K.” Johnson agreed with a Labour lawmaker who likened the World Cup hosted by Russia this summer to Adolf Hitler’s use of the 1936 Olympics for political purposes. “I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right,” he said. “I think it’s an emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event.” The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Johnson is “poisoned with venom of malice and hate, unprofessionalism and boorishness,” adding that “it’s scary to remember that this person represents the political leadership of a nuclear power.”

Who Poisoned Ex-Russian Spy Sergei Skripal? The Kremlin Has Many Theories – WSJ

The Kremlin and its propaganda channels have spread a flurry of theories about who was behind the nerve-agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the U.K. They have one common theme: It was anyone but Russia.

Russia’s Poisonous Message to the World | Council on Foreign Relations

The circumstances surrounding the attack on a former Russian spy in England leave little doubt that Russia was the culprit and cast a lengthening shadow over the global regime to stop chemical weapons.

Boris Johnson makes fresh comparison between Russia and Nazi Germany |

Boris Johnson has risked reigniting a diplomatic row with Russia after comparing failure to stand up to Vladimir Putin with appeasement. Mr Johnson said failure to stand up to the Kremlin’s pattern of provocative behaviour” would only lead to “revanchist feeling” from Putin’s administration. The Foreign Secretary has continued to draw comparisons between the Russian President and the Nazi dictator – first in the immediate aftermath of the Salisbury attack and again earlier this week, when he compared the upcoming football World Cup with the 1936 Olympics. Mr Johnson again accused Mr Putin of Nazi tactics by comparing Russia’s annexation of Crimea with the occupation of the Sudetenland by Hitler’s forces in 1938. He said it was “wholly apposite” to compare the two. Asked about the EU’s failure to take action when Russian troops entered the territory in 2014, Mr Johnson said: “We didn’t do anything about the Sudetenland, you know. “[Russia] annexed a sovereign European territory, has been involved in an assassination attempt in Montenegro, has allowed its client state Syria to conduct gas attacks against innocent civilians,and has now engaged in an attempted assassination in Wiltshire. “I think it’s a wholly apposite point that this is a regime that has annexed a piece of sovereign European territory.” Mr Johnson’s previous comparisons between Mr Putin’s administration and the Third Reich led to a furious response from Moscow. Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, said his comments were “unacceptable and totally irresponsible” at a press conference on Thursday. He pointed to Russia’s role in stopping Nazi forces, who were turned back at the battle of Stalingrad. Russia lost 8.7 million soldiers during the conflict – more than any other country.

Britain pulls off a diplomatic coup against Russia at the EU – What about next time?

ONE question confronting Britain and the European Union is how to maintain foreign-policy and security co-operation after Brexit. Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, often notes that failure to find agreement would harm the security interests of both sides.

Skripal attack: May rallies 20 European nations top expel Putin’s diplomats | News | The Times

Up to 20 European countries are preparing to expel Russian diplomats linked to Moscow espionage networks. The unprecedented round of co-ordinated expulsions will begin on Monday with the recall of the European Union’s ambassador for Moscow for four weeks.During four hours of talks on Thursday night,

20 EU states to expel Russian diplomats in response to poisoning – The National

The EU will recall its ambassador to Moscow on Monday, and the widespread expulsion of diplomats will follow

About 20 EU countries may expel Russian diplomats on Skripal’s case — Politics, Russia — EADaily

Many European countries plan to support Great Britain that accused Moscow in involvement in poisoning of former GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and expel Russian diplomats, reports The Times.

Now 20 Euro nations could kick out Russian spies in victory for PM | Daily Mail Online

Theresa May used a British intelligence briefing to persuade EU leaders to hit back at Russia following the Salisbury attack and now 20 countries are considering kicking out Russian spies.

World news – Russian diplomats to be expelled from 20 EU member states –

Russian diplomats to be expelled from 20 EU member states

Trump’s National Security Council recommends expelling Russian diplomats |

President Donald Trump is expected to receive a recommendation from his National Security Council on Friday that he expel a yet-to-be-determined number of Russian diplomats from the US in response to the poisonings of a former spy and his daughter on UK soil, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

Trump’s national security team wants Russian diplomats expelled after poisoning of ex-spy in UK: Report

It’s expected that if Trump agrees with the plan, it could be implemented as early as next week.

Aides Urge Trump to Expel Russian Envoys Over UK Attack |

President Donald Trump’s advisers are poised to recommend that he expel some Russian diplomats from the U.S. in response to the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy living in the U.K., a person familiar with the matter said.

Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg View: Trump pick John Bolton could confound Putin, encourage the EU | Guest Columns |

Despite a propaganda blitz meant to shift the blame for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom this month, Russia looks

‘You will see’: French minister signals solidarity with Britain on any Russia diplomat expulsions

‘You will see’: French minister signals solidarity with Britain on any Russia diplomat expulsions – France’s Foreign Minister signalled that Paris was considering expelling Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain, which ordered out 23 “undeclared intelligence agents” after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy.

Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions

Momentum is building in Denmark and Sweden for the adoption of Magnitsky Acts – a form of sanctions hated by the Kremlin.

Leo Varadkar considers expelling Russians | Ireland | The Times

Ireland may expel Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack in Britain on a former KGB spy and his daughter that has provoked condemnation across Europe.The European Council gave its backing yesterday to the UK’s conclusion that Russia was to blame for the attack in Salisbury, and sign

EU Vows More Measures Against Russia Over Nerve-Agent Attack

European Union member states have agreed at a summit in Brussels to take additional punitive measures against Russia for a nerve-agent attack in Britain.

EU and Nato urged to check for Russian spies at their headquarters as UK allies consider expelling diplomats

Nato and the EU must check for Russian spies at their headquarters as Britain&rsquo;s allies comsider expelling Moscow&rsquo;s diplomats after the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning, the Polish government has said

UAWire – NATO calls on Russia to answer all questions in Skripal case

Russia must respond to all the United Kingdom’s questions regarding the incident of the poisoning of former GRU (Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate) colonel Sergei Skripal in the British town of Salisbury, as stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after discussions with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš. In particular, he urged Russia to disclose the details of its chemical program since the Soviet Union era. “We call on Russia to answer all the questions the UK has put forward, and to provide full disclosure of its Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Stoltenberg said. The Secretary General earlier noted that NATO allies have offered their assistance in the investigation of the incident in Salisbury. Former GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned on March 4 in the British town of Salisbury. The British authorities claim that Moscow is involved in poisoning. Russia has categorically denied this.

London intends to confiscate hidden property and funds on accounts of Russian officials in Britain

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

Britain will find it hard to freeze Russian assets, Real Estate – THE BUSINESS TIMES

: THE BUSINESS TIMES Real Estate – DESPITE many threats, the UK government will find it exceedingly difficult to freeze Russian assets unless it can prove links to criminality.. Read more at The Business Times.

Poisoned Russian Spy May Never Recover Mental Functions, British Judge Says

Sergei Skripal and his daughter are being kept heavily sedated and are still unable to communicate two weeks after they were poisoned.

The Skripals, the Kremlin threat and the Russian security expert who thinks he knows why they were poisoned | The Times Magazine | The Times

Sitting opposite me in the Café Mozart in Vienna, Graham Greene’s favourite watering hole when he was writing his classic spy tale, The Third Man, is a former Soviet intelligence officer who may know everything. Now an author and academic, Boris Volodarsky tells me why the double agent Sergei Skripa

Poisoned spy Sergei Skripal asked Putin for pardon so he could return to Russia, friend claims | The Independent

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal had written to Vladimir Putin asking if he could return his home country before he was poisoned in Salisbury, a friend has said. The former Russian intelligence officer, who came to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy swap, regretted being a double agent and wanted to be pardoned so he could visit his family in Russia, Vladimir Timoshkov told the BBC.

Russian spy: Skripal asked Putin if he could return home – BBC News

A school friend says Sergei Skripal wanted to go home to see relatives and denied being a ‘traitor’.

We can’t beat the Russians, so let’s join them | Comment | The Times

As relations with Russia continue to worsen, I have begun to think that we are going about things all the wrong way. All this impotent sabre-rattling, this soppy liberal scorn in the press, this “Putin’s a bit like Hitler” rubbish from MPs, this hysterical “Help, Help, it’s World War Three!” nonsense …