Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK (20)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Notice Russia is accusing Britain of “banditry”, developing chemical weapons, and of making “unfounded accusations”. Multiple countries, including the US, are contemplating expelling 20 or more Russian ‘diplomats’. 

Russia is in a deteriorating position and every alternative theory, every excuse, every accusation, and every attempt at deflection or denial just makes Russia look worse. Russian arrogance combined with their refusal to accept responsibility – ever – makes Russia appear to be impetuous and carelessly haughty. The situation appears to be getting worse with no escape. Silence is Russia’s best option. 

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Almost three weeks elapsed, and Russian public comments are increasingly divergent from reality, and being treated as such by global mass media. Some most interesting observations by Epstein on the rationale underpinning the bizarre outbursts from Moscow. Some apt observations by Applebaum.

Most media reports are speculation about how exactly the US will respond.

In the UK, the media report that three children were hospitalized for tests due to suspected exposure – Col Skripal gave them bread to feed to ducks in the park and there were concerns that the children suffered exposure.

A spokesman for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, said that London’s actions in the case of Sergey Skripal’s poisoning are “unprecedented rudeness,” –

A spokesman for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, said that London’s actions in the case of Sergey Skripal’s poisoning are “unprecedented rudeness,” Interfax reports. According to Peskov, the latest London actions in the framework of the Skripal case are “unprecedented rudeness”, which borders “with banditry in international affairs.” “You see that President Putin keeps absolute calm, absolute restraint, and, unlike the vis-a-vis on the island, remains absolutely correct,” the government of the Russian Federation said. According to him, for Russia the main thing is “to cope with this provocation.” We recall that the ex-officer of the Russian armed forces Sergei Skripal was poisoned in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Later, Prime Minister Theresa Mey stated that responsibility lies on Russia, and the investigation confirmed the use of the nerve gas, produced in Russia.

Moscow says Europe ‘unpredictable and aggressive’ over Skripal: RIA

Moscow is uncomfortable about European states’ stance over the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England, RIA news agency cited the Kremlin as saying on Saturday.

Russia declares discomfort in European stance on nerve agent attack | MENAFN.COM

(MENAFN) Russia has criticized European countries’ attitude towards the nerve agent attack which struck in Britain.Citing Kremlin spokesman Dm

Russia rebukes EU leaders in spy case – POLITICO

European Council accused of making ‘unfounded accusations’ to help UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Kremlin: British accusations over Skripal poisoning ‘border on banditry’

Britain’s accusations that Moscow was behind the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in England “border on banditry”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA news agency on Sunday.

Kremlin: British Accusations Over Skripal Poisoning ‘Border on Banditry’ | World News | US News

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Britain’s accusations that Moscow was behind the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in England “border on banditry”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA news agency on Sunday. “We are stating that this is quite unprecedented – international affairs bordering, maybe, on banditry. What stands behind this? Is it Britain’s internal problems or the problems of Britain’s cooperation with its allies or something else? Looks like this is not our business,” RIA quoted Peskov as saying by RIA on an NTV program. Moscow has denied responsibility for the March 4 attack on Skripal and his daughter, the first known offensive use of a nerve toxin in Europe since World War Two. Britain expelled 23 Russians as a result and Moscow retaliated by ordering out the same number of Britons. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

‘West is Intent on Portraying Russia as a Hitlerian State’ – Analyst – Sputnik International

Radio Sputnik discussed relations between Russia and Western countries as well as London’s reaction to Sergei Skripal’s poisoning with Bogdan Polishchuk, deputy editor of the Russia Insider news website

Russia accuses Britain of developing chemical weapons

The Russian Embassy in London has released a statement alleging that the head of a the laboratory of the British Ministry of Defense in Porton Down “confirmed the development of poisonous substances”, including the one that was used to poison Sergei Skripal, Russia’s Interfax news agency reports . According to a Russian Embassy spokesperson, the statements by Gary Aitkenhead, the Chief Executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory in Porton Down who spoke about the laboratory’s high levels of security control measures that would not allow any leaks, de facto confirmed that it is developing and studying new components for warfare agents. “Indeed, we have noted that statement by the lab’s Chief Executive. This amounts to admitting that the secret facility is a place where new components of military-grade poisons are being researched and developed. Most notably, Mr. Aitkenhead did not deny the existence of chemical weapons stocks. Apparently, they include the A-234 agent that, according to official British statements, was used to poison the Skripals and Sergeant Bailey,” the Embassy said. According to the Embassy, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also hinted that such stocks are available in an interview on March 19. “These statements leave us with no choice but to reiterate our demand for full information on the Salisbury poisoning investigation to be provided and for the Porton Down military poisons program to be fully disclosed,” the Embassy said. Britain previously accused Russia of secretly developing Novichok gas. The British Foreign Ministry said earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have given the order to use chemical weapons against former intelligence agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

Russian demands London reveal chemical weapon production program –

Russia will demand London reveal the program of chemical warfare production, RIA News reported referring to the announcement of the Spokesperson of Russian Embassy in London. The announcement was made after Gary Aitkenhead, the Head of British Military Laboratory in Porton Down, said that they are developing and researching new components of chemical warfare. Aitkenhead stressed on severe control measures, which do not let “anything leave the room”. “It is worth saying that Aitkenhead did not deny the existence of chemical weapon reserves, including A-234 substance, which was used to poison Skripal’s family and sergeant Nick Baily,” he added. Russian Embassy Spokesperson on March 19 said that Boris Jonson, British Foreign Minister, alluded that such samples actually exist. “These announcements do not leave us a choice – we have to demand the data on the investigation, and the revelation of the program of chemical warfare production in Port-Down,” Russian Embassy informed. Earlier, military laboratory experts in Port Down determined that Skripal’s family was poisoned by Novichok nerve agent. As we reported earlier, Skripal, ex-GRU officer, was poisoned in British Salisbury on March 4. Later, Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, stated that Russia was responsible for that, and the investigation confirmed the use of Novichok nerve agent, produced in Russia. Great Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country as a reaction to the incident in Salisbury. Later, the Europen Union decided to withdraw its ambassador from Russia. Russian Foreign Ministry regards May’s accusations on Skripal’s case a provocation.

Russian spy: ‘No way’ spy nerve agent came from UK lab – BBC News

There is “no way” any nerve agent held at the UK’s Porton Down lab could be linked to the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter, the site’s chief executive has told the BBC. Gary Aitkenhead said suggestions by Russia that the proximity of the labs to the incident Salisbury might be somehow suspicious were “frustrating” . He said the laboratory had the “highest levels” of controls and security. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in a critical condition.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Real Innovation is Baseless Hatred that Feeds on Itself, Epstein Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 24 – Unlike his Soviet predecessors and most other leaders in the world, Vladimir Putin has shown that “hatred doesn’t need any world-historical justification,” that it “feeds upon itself,” and thus becomes “a kind of perpetual motion machine,” according to Russian-American philosopher Mikhail Epstein. This understanding lies behind the Kremlin leader’s invasions of Ukraine and the use of Novichok against those who have offended him in Great Britain, he continues. And it has the ability to create fear and hatred in others that become the only justification needed for the hatred of Russians for others ( “Novichok,” the name for the nerve agent used against Skripal, in Russian means “amateur,” and many of Putin’s biographers have suggested that he is one. But in fact he has turned out to be an AMATEUR but in all capital letters,” someone who uses his one insight to lay down “the shortest path from any starting point to a final point of nonexistence.” Putin doesn’t need to be distracted as other leaders are by ideological considerations. In that regard, the North Korean and Iranian leaders are people of the past while Putin is a man of the 21st century, Epstein continues. He doesn’t need to engage in “the scholasticism” which often ties them in knots. As a result, the Putin regime can “in an instant”make use of “the simplest impulse” of human beings, the division between “we and they – or simply the smell of blood.” That has become possible for the paradoxical reason that with the increased flow of information, people have been simplified down to their biological essence, to the simplest reflex of hatred.” Novichok, the nerve agent, Epstein says, is “something unique in world history to the extent that there are no arguments of ‘a higher order,’ nothing besides a skeleton in the closet, it has nothing and doesn’t need anything either.” Of course, there “a mass of rhetorical means” available when it is exposed but they ultimately are meaningless except as sources of hatred. Every Putinist action is justified by claims that others caused it not Russia itself. Why did Moscow seize Crimea? Because it is “holy for Russians.” Why is it hostile to the West? “Because our partners don’t understand or respect us. “Why did the Kursk sink? Because it sank.” Within the Putin system, nothing more needs to be said. Here then is “the invention of Putinism which potentially can complete the course of history: cold hatred which insistently seeks weak places in the world order and figures out ways to beat at them” without having a genuine cause or a genuine goal beyond doing just that, Epstein argues. But, and this may become Putin’s tragedy as well, “what is the nature of this hatred?” Perhaps, Epstein suggests, “it is a hitherto unseen and perverted form of love?” Aleksandr Blok in his poem, “The Scythians,” suggested something of that when he wrote that the Russians were attacking with hatred what they at another level in fact love. But there is a more recent and more suggestive example of this, Epstein says. In March 2014, a Russian shouted at a Moscow meeting about the Ukrainians the Russian government had just attacked: “We love you. You are our brothers” to suggest that the Crimean Anschluss and the invasion of the Donbass were in fact a manifestation of love not hatred. All of this takes Russia back to pre-historical times because it resembles“an ancient cannibalistic custom: to love means to eat the beloved down to the skeleton. It would seem,” Epstein says, “nothing could be more archaic than that. But with Novichok” – in both meanings of the word – “it turns out that it has something futuristic about it as well.”

Anne Applebaum | First Russia unleashed a nerve agent. Now it’s unleashing its lie machine.

Maybe he was a drug addict; maybe he was suicidal. Maybe his British handlers decided to get rid of him; maybe it was his mother-in-law. Ever since Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, was poisoned in a provincial English town, Russian state media and Russian officials have worked…

Russian TV stations using UK bases to broadcast Kremlin propaganda

Russian-owned television stations are using Britain as a hub to broadcast Kremlin propaganda and conspiracy theories about the Salisbury attack across Europe, the Telegraph can disclose.

#PutinAtWar: Trolls on Twitter – To Inform is to Influence

An outstanding article which shows how Russian trolls continue to amplify and promote issues favorable to Russia or detrimental to the US, the West, or Democracy.   I can’t count how often during just the past week alone I have pointed this out to experts, reporters, and friends.  Russian information warfare is not just active prior…

‘Large number’ of EU countries plan more Russia action

The French President promises “coordinated measures” to come into force on Monday as Moscow hits back at the EU.

Europe steps up pressure on covert Russia over spy attack – Kuwait Times | Kuwait Times

BRUSSELS: European countries are set to take further steps as early as tomorrow to punish Russia over the poisoning of a former spy in England, officials said, as diplomatic pressure builds on Moscow over the nerve agent attack. Russia, for its part, accused London of trying to force its European allies to take “confrontational steps” and unleashing an “anti-Russian campaign”. EU leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed to recall the bloc’s ambassador from Moscow over the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury. French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday the poisoning with the Soviet-made “Novichok” agent was an “attack on European sovereignty”, after EU leaders unanimously backed London’s assessment that it was “highly likely” Moscow was to blame and that there was no plausible alternative explanation.

EU Nations Vow To Take More Action Against Russia | Independent Newspapers Nigeria

Several European Union countries have said they may follow Britain in expelling Russian diplomats, as EU Council chief Donald Tusk predicted member states would introduce more measures against Moscow for the poisoning of an ex-spy in England.

Europe backs Britain – and itself

Russia’s drive to create dissent among Western democracies just hit an unexpected speed bump. On Friday, the European Union agreed that Russia was “highly likely” to be responsible for the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in Britain earlier this month. Europe, in other words, will not allow

President Trump is weighing recommendation to expel Russian diplomats – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump is weighing a recommendation from his National Security Council that he expel a group of Russian diplomats from the US in response to the poisonings of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

Trump considering expelling 20 Russian diplomats over chemical attacks: report | TheHill

President Trump is reportedly considering expelling at least 20 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain.

Trump Plans Expulsion of Russian Envoys Over U.K. Attack – Bloomberg

President Donald Trump is preparing to expel dozens of Russian diplomats from the U.S. in response to the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in the U.K., two people familiar with the matter said Saturday.

Estonia considers expelling Russian diplomats because of ‘Skripal case’

The Prime Minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas, canceled his trip to Russia as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Estonia’s independence. According to the Estonian Foreign Ministry,the decision was made after negotiations in Brussels, RBC news agency reports. “I decided not to visit Russia in May where I planned participate in activities devoted to the 100th anniversary of Estonia,” the press service of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign affairs quoted the Minister as saying. Estonia’s Independence Day has been celebrated on February 24th since 1918. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Republic, commemorative events have been planned worldwide. One of the additional steps Estonia considers in response to the Skripal case may be an expulsion of Russian diplomats, the Prime Minister added. Tallinn will make specific decisions early next week, the politician specified. Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia suggested banning the entry of 49 Russians from the Magnitsky list, as reported on the website of the Ministry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia has already announced plans to expel Russian diplomats. According to sources of the Guardian, France, Poland, and Lithuania are also considering the same actions as a show of solidarity with Great Britain. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially promised to take “decisive” measures against Russia. On Friday, March 23rd the European Union called its Ambassador in Russia, Markus Ederer, to Brussels for consultations. This decision is not related to the sanctions, as the Ambassador has been recalled for a while, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte explained.

Ukraine doesn’t expel Russian diplomats following example of Europe –

Ukraine does not expel Russian diplomats following the example of Europe, as this will mean the automatic expulsion of Ukrainian consuls from the Russian Federation, whose presence in the country is extremely important for Ukrainian political prisoners. This was announced on Facebook page by First Vice Speaker of Parliament, representative of Ukraine in the humanitarian subgroup of the Tripartite Contact Group Iryna Gerashchenko. “I’m tired of the unprofessionalism… There is no Russian ambassador in Ukraine for a long time, we did not accept agreement for a new ambassador, as there is no Ukrainian ambassador to Russia. Our diplomatic relations are reduced to a critical minimum, the embassies have a few diplomats and consuls. The deportation of Russian consuls will cause the expulsion of Ukrainian consuls – and our political prisoners in Russia will remain face-to-face with the mordor, without the chance to see the Ukrainian representative at least once in a few months, to feel minimal support, “she said. Gerashchenko reminded that Stanislav Klykh, Mykila Karpyuk, Roman Suschenko, Pavlo Gryb, and others remain in Russian prisons. As reported, earlier the Western media reported that the US and about 20 European countries are preparing to expel Russian diplomats associated with Moscow spy networks.

Diplomatic hostility towards Russia will ‘erode away’ within months, says former British ambassador | The Independent

The UK’s former ambassador to Russia has said the diplomatic hostility between the Kremlin and the West will “erode away” within “a few months”, because both sides require a functioning relationship.  Sir Tony Brenton, speaking exclusively to The Independent, drew from his own experiences of dealing with diplomatic relations between Britain and Russia in the aftermath of the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning.

Bankers react after call to freeze corrupt Russian funds | Jersey Evening Post

NEARLY two per cent of business in Jersey’s finance sector is of Russian origin and could be affected by proposed tough measures against powerful Russians accused of human rights abuses.

Three children taken to hospital after poisoned Sergei Skripal handed them bread to feed ducks – Mirror Online

Children who came into contact with poisoned double agent Sergei Skripal by taking bread from him to feed ducks were taken to hospital and tested for deadly chemical

Children hospitalised after poisoned Russian spy ‘gave them bread to feed ducks’ | Metro News

Three children had to be taken to hospital after a former Russian double agent, who was later poisoned with a nerve agent, gave them bread to feed ducks, according to…

Kids fall ill after taking bread from poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal to feed ducks – Daily Record

The boys all took sick and their families face an agonising wait to see if they will be left with ­long-term health issues.

Mobile phone of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia ‘switched off for 4 hours’ on the day they were poisoned – Mirror Online

The devices’ GPS signals, which help identify where someone is, were not in operation for several hours – leaving police struggling to piece together their movements.

Sergei Skripal ‘has a secret ex-girlfriend in Salisbury’ | Daily Mail Online

The mystery woman, who is understood to also be from Russia, had been dating the 66-year-old and has been left ‘terrified’ by the nerve agent attack in the Wiltshire city on March 4.

Russia nerve agent row putting England fans off the World Cup | Football News | Sky Sports

Political tensions between the UK and Russia after the Salisbury nerve agent attack could force some England fans to alter World Cup plans.

Salisbury nerve agent attack: Russia sends ‘get well soon’ letter to policeman poisoned | Daily Star

RUSSIA sent a “tasteless” letter to the hero policemen recovering from the deadly nerve agent in the Sailsbury poisoning attack, it has been claimed.

We visited Russia’s opulent UK embassy at the height of a diplomatic crisis — here’s what it was like | Business Insider

Britain and Russia are in the middle of their most intense diplomatic crisis since the Cold War over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury earlier this month. Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the UK earlier week, prompting a reciprocal action from Moscow. Despite losing about 30% of its staff, though, activity in the embassy still seemed like business as usual. Business Insider attended a press conference on Thursday with Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, and was given access to most – but not all – of the opulent building. Scroll down to take a look inside.

Russia uses firm with spy links for Dublin embassy job | Ireland | The Sunday Times

A Moscow-based architectural firm behind the planned expansion of the Russian embassy in Dublin operates as a contractor for the country’s military and foreign intelligence services.Zarubegproekt, a firm with close ties to the Kremlin, used a now defunct firm of Dublin architects to submit building