Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK (28)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

A feeling of desperation, rage, and ‘flailing about’ is creeping into the Russian narrative. The target audience appears to be the West in their English language publications, but Russian arguments are disjointed, overly boisterous, and, well, pompous. The messaging is almost equivalent to desperation on a personal level from inside the Kremlin and their information control center. 

We are also seeing a statement of ‘we have nukes’, not in words, but demonstrations. Russian FM Lavrov normally bears that message, scrutinize his messaging.  Expect outspoken Duma members to also bloviate about this. 

In my eyes, the bottom line is Russia appears to know it is in trouble and is flailing about to find a successful counter. It also seems unclear as to their target audience. 

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Russians indulge in more nuclear sabre rattling with an RVSN alert and deployment exercise, ABM launch, and footage release on SATAN 2 test. The campaign of mirroring continues, with accusations by Lavrov himself that the SIS had a motive to poison the Skripals. Bogus questions thrown at the UK and OPCW to muddy the waters. RT attacks Amb McFaul for his public criticisms. The Russian media campaign follows the MH17 pattern but is much more intensive, more chaotic, and sufficiently incoherent to produce an immense volume of fodder for media critics and cartoonists. Clearly not designed to change Western perceptions of the event.

British MP Seely and Euromaidan’s Shandra elaborate in the Times on the Surkov emails and the potential for the use of Russian tactics trialled in Ukraine against the UK. Kirillova essay on Russia propaganda techniques, two analyses by Portnikov, and some apt comments by Kruglov.

UK authorities brief media on investigation pointing out that the toxicity of the agent precludes use by amateurs, indicating a professional hit. SECDEF’s Williamson’s OpEd producing a lot of media traffic. Sen Graham weighs in on Russian, as does Amb McFaul. Russians elaborate on POTUS invite evidently trying to embarrass POTUS. Former Pres Yushchenko comments on how he was poisoned. Weekly Standard editorial proposes Russia be put on list of state sponsors of terrorism. Kasparov proposes a FIFA cup boycott. Aslund proposes going after Russian money. Other miscellaneous OpEds. Also some choices sample of pro-Russian commentary.

Russian opposition website Republic.ru reports on the 1990s theft of Novichok from government labs, cite: “enough poison was stolen to poison more than four thousand people” – exactly why this is appearing now in a Russian publication is a good question – Galeotti and others repeatedly report the use of organised crime by the FSB for wetwork, which does not absolve the Russian state of responsibility. As with MH17 it is difficult to explain away a government asset used to kill people abroad.

Russia brandishes missiles in response to mass expulsion of its diplomats | UAWire

In response to the West’s unprecedented diplomatic démarche, in which more than 110 Russian diplomats were expelled from EU countries and the US, Russia has begun to work on a large-scale mobilization of its nuclear forces. At the start of the week, one work day after the eviction of Russian diplomatic staff, Russia’s Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN) began drills involving roughly 10,000 military personnel, 1000 items of military equipment, and more than 30 military units and divisions. Missile regiments, technical missile bases, as well as supply and protection units have begun the activities to bring the strategic forces to the highest level of combat readiness, according to a report from the Russian Defense Ministry. The purpose of the drills was reportedly to bring the missile regiments out onto the combat patrol routes, and to rehearse activities relating to a strike, possibly nuclear, from an imaginary enemy. The soldiers worked on aspects relating to “radar, chemical and biological defense”, and also learn how to remove debris and deploy comprehensive water purification stations. In addition to combat readiness, the “morale and psychological condition of the staff” will also be tested, the Defense Ministry noted. On Friday, test launches of the new heavy Sarmat-class liquid intercontinental ballistic missiles were conducted at the state Plesetsk Cosmodrome. According to the Russian state arms program, the new missiles are scheduled to begin serial production in 2020 and replace the Voevoda missile. During the exercise, the Tagil missile unit worked on camouflaging the ground-mobile Yars missile systems, withdrawing units and divisions of the RVSN from strikes, countering modern and future means of air assault, and how to give alerts in collaboration with units of the Central Military District. The military personnel of the Southern Military District’s missile units practiced firing the Iskander-M systems up to 500 kilometers. While anti-aircraft systems operators of the Western Military District in the Moscow province learned to destroy high altitude ballistic targets, fighter jets from the Pacific Fleet practiced repelling the air attack of an imaginary enemy in the Arctic. Roughly 20 Yars ground-mobile missile systems were brought out to field positions in the Sverdlovsk province, and Central Military District anti-aircraft gunners from the Volga region fired shots from Buk-M2 and Tor-M systems in the Astrakhan province. During the drills, S-400 anti-air missile system crews from the Baltic fleet repelled an imaginary opponent’s airstrike. In the Barents Sea more than 10 ships and submarines from the North Fleet were called out, including strategic nuclear submarines. Pilots at the Pacific Fleet Naval Airbase in Kamchatka practiced searching for an imaginary enemy’s submarines in the Arctic zone. Russia has taken a rapid step in the development of new types of strategic weapons, and is prepared to give an “immediate” nuclear response to aggression, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Federal Assembly in an address on March 1. Putin noted that according to military doctrine, Moscow can use nuclear weapons not only in the event of a nuclear attack, but also in the event of an attack using any weapon of mass destruction or even normal weapons “if the very existence of the country is threatened”.

Vladimir Putin displays military strength to West again in anti-nuclear missile launch days after 4,000mph ‘Satan’ rocket fired – Mirror Online

The new weapon could reportedly help with Russian domination of outer space, according to reports

Russian spy: Sergei Lavrov accuses West of ‘children’s games’ – BBC News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the UK and Western partners of playing “children’s games” in their response to the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. He accused countries of “disregarding all accepted behaviour” and resorting to “open lies and disinformation”. Twenty-nine nations have expelled diplomats over the poisoning, which the UK holds Russia responsible for. Mr Lavrov also issued fresh denials at the news conference on Monday. He made the comments in response to a question by the BBC’s Steve Rosenberg about how dangerous growing tensions were between Russia and the West in comparison with the Cold War.

Russia claims it could have been in interests of Britain to poison Sergei Skripal | The Independent

The Russian foreign minister has suggested Britain may have poisoned its former agent Sergei Skripal as the Kremlin continues to deny involvement. Sergei Lavrov told a press conference there were “other explanations” over who may have targeted the former Russian double agent in Salisbury. “Experts tell us that it may well be beneficial to the British special services, who are known for their ability to act with license to kill,” he said.

Russia sends 13 questions on Skripal case to OPCW – 112.international

The Permanent Representation of Russia to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) sent 13 questions on the case about the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergey Skripal in the UK to the Technical Secretariat of the organization. The Foreign Ministry of Russia published the questions on the website.

UAWire – Russia promises to present ‘clear proposal’ on Skripal case

At a session of the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on April 4, Russia will present “a clear proposal” which will facilitate the Skripal case investigation, Russia’s permanent representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin told Rossiyskaya Gazeta in an interview. “It is a simple, clear proposal, aimed at facilitating the investigation of the incident in Salisbury. I would not like to disclose it now, but believe me, it will be a good proposal, which should not cause any complaints,” he observed. According to Shulgin, it is in line with the requirements of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and is aimed at “resolving the problem in a civilized manner”. He emphasized that Moscow is “more interested in determining the truth than the British”. On Thursday March 29, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is convening a session of the OPCW’s executive council in order to discuss the Skripal case. He emphasized that the Russian government has officially called for the convening of an extraordinary session in order to “achieve normal discussion and determine the truth”. “We will ask specific questions which have already been posed by us on multiple occasions,” Lavrov said. On April 1, Russia’s permanent representative to the OPCW sent the organization’s technical secretariat 13 questions which interest Moscow in the investigation of the Skripal case. In particular, the Russian authorities demanded an explanation of the type of assistance the UK requested from the OPCW’s technical secretariat. Moscow would also like to know whether the OPCW intends to share with Moscow the information it received from London.

‘Reputation matters’: Russia accuses UK of blocking its ‘right’ to see poisoned spy and his daughter

Four weeks on from the poisonings, the Russian embassy also reminds Britain: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Russia spy poisoning: Putin ambassador says ‘UK staged attack on Skripal’ | Daily Star

RUSSIA has shockingly claimed Britain may have staged the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in a bid to turn people against Vladimir Putin.

Russian ambassador accuses British special services of poisoning Skripal – 112.international

The ambassador of the Russian Federation in the Great Britain Alexander Yakovenko is sure, that British special services are behind the Case of Skripal. The ambassador of the Russian Federation in the Great Britain Alexander Yakovenko is sure, that British special services are behind the “Case of Skripal”. He stated this on the air of NTV. “We have very serious suspicions that this provocation was carried out by the British special services, they refuse to cooperate with us, we do not have any facts. So, the realities lead us to the conclusion that this is a provocation by the special services, “he said. “I think that this time, like in the case of Litvinenko, as in the case of Patarkatsishvili, Berezovsky, Glushkov, Perepelichny, his information will not be classified at this time. I’m sure that Russia will not let the British out of the legal field, the British will have to answer,” he stressed. The ambassador noted that at the moment the Russian side “chooses a method by which way we will go,” but the pressure on the British will be intensified. We recall, dozens of Western countries announced the expulsion of about 140 Russian diplomats against the backdrop of a scandal surrounding the poisoning of the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Great Britain blamed Russia and announced the expulsion of 23 employees of the Russian embassy in London, as well as the possibility of closing the Russian trade mission. Germany announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats. Ukraine also joined the international community’s response to the poisoning of Skripal and expelled 13 diplomats. Moscow responded by announcing the expulsion of over 70 British diplomats, as well as over 50 diplomats from several European countries and Canada (including four German diplomats).

RT: Example of Russian Disinformation – Mirroring – To Inform is to Influence

A friend sent me this link and I almost choked on my coffee.   He called it Mirroring and I believe that might be an appropriate term. Russia consistently accuses others of doing what they have done or are doing.  In this case, Russia is accusing the UK of purposefully poisoning Col Skripal and his daughter…

Facts shall not pass: Twitter jumps on McFaul’s RT-propaganda-blaming wagon over Skripal article — RT US News

Michael McFaul and his Russia-hating Twitter supporters have hit out at RT as “propaganda” – for accurately reporting a comment made by Moscow about the Skripal case.

Salisbury poisoning: Russia issues list of 14 questions for UK

Russia has insisted on the right to see Yulia Skripal after it emerged she was improving rapidly since she was poisoned in March.

Expelled Russian Diplomats Return From U.S.

A plane transporting expelled Russian diplomats with their family members from the United States landed at Vnukovo airport outside of Moscow on April 1. Workers could be seen unloading large boxes carrying diplomatic items from the Russian Ilyushin Il-96 jet. The diplomatic staff were told to leave the United States as part of an international response to Russia’s alleged nerve-agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury on March 4. (Reuters)

Expelled Russians arrive home as Moscow warns against travel to UK – Daily Times

Two planes arrived at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on Sunday, bringing home a total of 171 people — the 60 diplomats and their families — from Washington and New York. Russian television showed passengers disembarking from a government plane while several buses waited to pick them up. More than 150 Russian diplomats have now been ordered out of the US, EU members, NATO countries and other nations.

Alleged Russian spies leave Australia as DFAT warns Aussies off Russia

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has updated its travel warnings for Russia, telling Australians to be aware of the possibility of anti-Western sentiment or harassment due to heightened political tensions.

Sergei Skripal: Russian spies expelled by Malcolm Turnbull board flight out of Canberra

Two “undeclared” Russian intelligence officers have been farewelled by members of the Canberra Russian emba…

Bob Seely, MP and Alya Shandra | The toolkit for Kremlin’s new warfare | News | The Times

Want to overthrow a regional government? That’ll be $181,000. Cyber-attack opponents? That’s between $100 and $5,000. Hire thugs for staged rallies? Bribe local media? It’s all possible in Russia’s new warfare.Our detailed study of the Kremlin leaks confirms its scale and breadth. It is a snapshot o…..

Leaked emails expose Russian dirty tricks | News | The Times

Russian attempts to fuel dissent and spread disinformation have been exposed by a cache of leaked documents that show what the Kremlin is prepared to pay for hacking, propaganda and rent-a-mob rallies. Hacked emails sent by Moscow-linked figures outline a dirty-tricks campaign in Ukraine, which was invaded on the orders of President Putin in 2014. Experts said that they exposed the dangers faced by Britain and its allies because Russia used the same weapons of disinformation, bribery and distortion to attack the West. Bob Seely, a Tory MP and expert on Russian warfare, said his analysis of the leaks, which comprise thousands of emails and a password-protected document related to the conflict in Ukraine, revealed a “shopping list of subversion”.

Putin’s $19,200 rent-a-mobs: Emails show Russia uses paid thugs and email hackers to sow dissent and chaos abroad, Business Insider – Business Insider Singapore

A tranche of hacked emails sent by Kremlin-linked figures appear to show Russia’s plan to sow chaos and dissent abroad The emails discuss prices for rent-a-mob rallies, hackers, and propaganda merchants in Ukraine, which Russia invaded in 2014. Kremlin figures allegedly discussed a $130,500 plan to “troll” opponents of Russia, “demotivate enemies” on social media, and collect personal data of opponents in Ukraine. Experts warned that Russia could use the same weapons in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Bob Seely – Wikipedia

 

Kseniya Kirillova | Propaganda – the opiate of the masses in Putin’s Russia -Euromaidan Press |

Russian propagandists have just perpetrated another abomination against Russian dissident Ilya Yashin and his elderly grandmother. A camera crew from pro-Kremlin media “Life” broke into the nursing home where the sick 84-year-old woman lived, jotted down some of her remarks, then published a story directed against her grandson based on these comments. As Ilya himself remarked, this despicable act became a new low in betrayal and cynicism from Kremlin media. However, it reflects not only the unscrupulousness and omnipotence of Russian propagandists and their Kremlin patrons, but also reveals certain propaganda mechanisms, which, unfortunately, draw so many people into believing media lies. The philosopher and culturologist Mikhail Epstein wrote in his recent article that the Putin regime and its foreign policy (and hence propaganda) are based on “a pure hatred,” which needs no theoretical justification or ideological doctrine, such as Marxism, racial theory or religious extremism. “Novichok opened the door to the destruction of the world order – with nothing to stop it. It stripped away the thin veneer of civilization from world politics: Hatred does not need proof; it is in its own way a pure product, like love,” the author writes. Respectfully, I must disagree with Mikhail. Indeed, Putin’s propaganda does not need logical constructs, and is on the whole extremely contradictory. However, this does not mean that it has nothing to offer its audience except hatred. Yes, hatred is the final product, but in order to maintain itself, Putin’s propaganda also deploys a host of images – and perceptions created by these images – of such intensity that they effectively carry more weight than rational arguments. Russian propaganda does not create a rational worldview, but rather a world of perception that appeals directly to feelings, instincts, reflexes and passions, the intertwining of which serves as justification for the hatred that Epstein writes about.Taken separately, these images and feelings evoke much more than only anger. This propaganda plays on a wide variety of sensations, skillfully reducing them all to the desired result. In previous articles, I have describe the human instincts that are appealed to by various propaganda tactics. Let’s try to summarize them here.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: There is No Place in Putin’s World for the Non-Aligned, Portnikov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 1 – During the first cold war, Moscow and Washington tried to recruit as many countries to their respective sides as possible but accepted the notion that some countries would remain non-aligned or neutral at least for some time to come. Indeed, each saw the existence of such countries as providing a useful channel of communication with the other side. But in the emerging second cold war, Vitaly Portnikov says, Vladimir Putin has no place for the non-aligned because he approaches international relations with the same values he picked up from the criminal world out of which he emerged: everyone who is not with him is against him and thus an enemy (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5ABF14DBE4B57). Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov is only one of many who does not yet understand this shift. He tried to remain in good graces with both the West and Moscow by pulling briefly his ambassador for consultations after the attack on Skripal to show solidarity with London but not expelling Russian diplomats to keep channels open with Moscow. In trying to do both tings, the Ukrainian analyst says, “Borisov is making the very same error which some Ukrainian politicians have before him, people who call for ‘neutrality’ or ‘non-bloc’ status for their country” in the belief that Russia will immediately love and support them for doing so. “But the Kremlin doesn’t need ‘neutrality,’” Portnikov says. “It needs support and solidarity with its dark actions. Therefore, for Moscow, Boiko Borisov is a traitor and an American hireling whether he expels Russian chekists from the embassy or leaves them in peace.” This shift in the Kremlin’s approach from cold war – 1 to cold war – 2 is going to put the countries within the CIS in the most difficult position. Moscow expects them to show loyalty but many of them have pursued what they call “a balanced foreign policy,” hoping for good relations with the West as well. That position is increasingly difficult for them to maintain, especially since many of them have continued to act on the assumption that this is possible. Some of the CIS countries, in fact, have taken positions on the Skripal case that reflected their understanding of what is possible. But that isn’t what Moscow wants. Vladimir Yevseyev, the deputy head of the Moscow Institute for the CIS Countries, says that “unfortunately, Russia isn’t receiving support from the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States” and said that Moscow “should not count on serious support in the future” (regnum.ru/news/polit/2398393.html). Regnum commentator Stanislav Stremidlovsky says that “judging from everything so far, this is so.” The question is how Moscow will now react. It certainly won’t want to accept this new reality willingly given that it sees even modest efforts at maintaining balance as hostile actions, and so it may be inclined to try to force this or that CIS government to change positions. That could lead to an explosion in one or more of them; but at the very least, it is going to put new pressure on the governments of many to decide just how “neutral” and “non-aligned” they can be. That provides an opening for pro-Western forces even as it may open the way to yet another defeat for Putin in an area he thinks Russia should have a recognized droit de regarde.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Putinism is the Ideology of a Third World Dictator,’ Kruglov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 1 – Many analysts want to fit Vladimir Putin into the mold of Stalin or to suggest that his regime is “fascism of a Russian type,” Artem Kruglov says; but in fact, Putin’s modus operandi is based on “the ideology of a third world dictator” like Mobuto or Papa Doc Duvalier. Kruglov, who has been responsible for the Radio Svoboda site “Putinism as It Is” since 2015, says that becomes obvious if one compares Putin with ether of these dictators: “the very same power without limits, the unrestrained enrichment of himself and his clan,” and the claim that the regime reflects “the special path” of his people (svoboda.org/a/29134143.html). The only real difference, the analyst continues, is that Putin has “the nuclear button” and Novichok and the others don’t. According to Kruglov, Putin came by this naturally having entered Russian politics in the 1990s in St. Petersburg which “at that time was the criminal capital of Russia.” There he both formed the alliances that he has continued to rely on and picked up the values of the criminal world of which he was very much a part. Putin has never really broken with the 1990s in terms of his person which may help to explain why he holds up that period as something frightening that Russians must avoid repeating by supporting his own increasingly authoritarian manner of rule. Denouncing what one is doing to others is a common psychological response. Putin rose to power and wealth by his involvement with all kinds of criminal activity including drug smuggling, gang warfare, and bank fraud. Those who backed him in all this became fabulously wealthy and were integrated into his elite; those who didn’t often ended up dead or at least ruined. Kruglov points to case after case in support of each of his assertions and says that taken together they mean that “one should not compare Russia with Europe but with those which are closer to it” in spirit and practice.” He gives the Haiti of Papa Doc Duvalier as an example of a system very similar to Putin’s. “In 1964,” Kruglov says, “the dictator Duvalier known as Papa Doc conducted a referendum on recognizing him as president for life. On the ballots was only one question: ‘Do you agree?’ With what, everyone understood, and there was only one answer available ‘yes.’” And he used his death squadrons, the tonton macoutes, to ensure that everyone behaved. Putin’s Russia is just the same: everyone knows how he or she is expected to behave and vote, and the FSB serves as a kind of tontons macoutes “in uniform” or not to make sure, the Radio Svoboda analyst continues. Moreover, it claims just as Duvalier and Mobutu did that it is based on a special national tradition. Such systems work for a long time, Kruglov says; indeed, they work until they don’t, until people wise up and realize what has been going on. The Putin regime is the same in that regard too. “Yes, it is building a Bantustan. Russia today is a country where the average pay is lower than that in Romania.”

Vitaly Portnikov | Putin is uniting Europe -Euromaidan Press |

The European Union, whose destabilization has been one of the main goals of Putin’s foreign policy, exists and resists. The expulsion of Russian diplomats from the countries of the European Union and the United States will be an unprecedented demonstration of the unity of the West. Unity that in recent years began to be forgotten. And which after Brexit was questioned. However, it turned out that uniting in the face of a challenge is much easier than finding mutual understanding on issues of economy or the functioning of EU structures. Nonetheless, Putin supporters in the EU have not gone away. They revealed themselves fully at the EU summit in Brussels, where they sought to find a compromise on joint actions after the Salisbury nerve agent attack. But even their attempts to soften the consequences of the West’s actions have generated the reverse. Sources claim that the first decision in the history of the European Union to recall the EU ambassador from Moscow for consultations was practically the result of a political joke. It was the reaction of the Prime Minister of Hungary Victor Orban to the proposal made by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to recall the ambassadors of the EU member states from the Russian capital. Orban, who wanted to emphasize the complete absurdity of such a step, asked why then not recall the EU ambassador. And to his complete surprise, discovered that this idea was supported by his colleagues. The idea of expelling Russian diplomats from EU countries was the result of another discussion. Initially it was proposed that the diplomats who work with European institutions be expelled. But this decision was strongly opposed by the Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel, who, incidentally, had just recently visited Moscow and met with Putin. The point is that the expulsion of any diplomats from Brussels is the responsibility of Belgium and not of the entire European Union. And Michel reasonably asked his colleagues why only his country should assume the burden of the conflict with Moscow. There was agreement with his arguments and the idea emerged to expel the diplomats from all the countries of the European Union. It is understood that even in this case the actions of each country will vary in severity. But the gesture itself is serious and humiliating for Moscow. Putin will either have to pretend that nothing has happened or else expel the diplomats of almost all the European embassies. And there has never been a similar occurrence in the history of Moscow’s relations with the civilized world. The Kremlin will be surprised to see that the European Union, whose destabilization has been one of the main goals of Putin’s foreign policy, exists and resists. And that the actions of both “friends” and opponents in such a configuration can result in equally bad consequences.

Russian media have published 20 different narratives on Skripal poisoning -Euromaidan Press |

As British investigators probe the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, international consensus continues to grow that Moscow was behind the attempted assassination. EU Heads of State and Government have voiced their support for the United Kingdom in its standoff with Russia, with European Council President Donald Tusk saying the Council “agrees with UK government that highly likely Russia is responsible for Salisbury attack and that there is no other plausible explanation.” Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain in critical condition in Salisbury, southwest England, and one police officer is recovering in hospital. More than 130 people may have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok.

Source: Britain believes nerve agent attack likely had Kremlin approval – CNN

British authorities believe the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal shows a sophistication that likely had the approval of the Kremlin.

Report: Britain Believes Spy Poisoning Had Putin’s Approval – The Daily Beast

Implicates top level of Russian government.

Poisoned Door Handle Hints at High-Level Plot to Kill Spy, U.K. Officials Say – The New York Times

An operation to smear a nerve agent on Sergei Skripal’s door handle was so risky, it is unlikely to have been tried without Kremlin approval, British officials investigating the case believe.

Nerve Agent Smeared on Ex-Spy’s Door Handle Points to Kremlin, NYT Reported | Newsmax.com

A nerve agent smeared on a Russian ex-spy’s door handle in England that poisoned him and his daughter points to the Kremlin, The New York Times reported on Sunday according to officials briefed on an the inquiry.

Sanctions issue in Skripal case to depend on Russia’s further steps, – Ambassador Gough – 112.international

Judith Gough, the Ambassador of the UK to Ukraine thinks that the imposing of the new sanctions against Russia due to the poisoning of Sergey Skripal, the former GRU officer and his daughter will depend on the further steps of Russia as Interfax-Ukraine reported. ‘We have not announced the new sanctions yet besides those already imposed but it is obvious that everything will depend on the further steps of Russia. The main thing we will continue to protector our national security’, she said at the airing of ICTV on April 1. Gough specified that the expulsion of the Russian diplomats is not just the act of the solidarity with the UK, ‘it is also a clear response to the fact which we consider as the threat to our collective security. It is a result not only of a good diplomacy but our collective feeling that we faced a new and severe challenge by Russia’. The diplomat explained that the UK does not intend to restrict its football fans and teams in the visiting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup that should take place in Russia. Talking about the idea that we attempt to disrupt the FIFA World Cup is the nonsense. The British are truly football nation. And of course we want to watch a good football, there is no conspiracy. However, we will not send the official delegations, parliament’s members and members of the royal family to the World Cup. At the same time, we do not aim to restrict the English football fans and teams but we should be sure in their security’, the ambassador said.

We have entered a dangerous new era of warfare and must evolve to meet Putin’s threat

A century ago, bombers of Number 101 Squadron took the fight to the enemy in the midst of the Kaiser&rsquo;s Spring Offensive.

Russia news: Britain launch vicious attack on Vladimir Putin after Yulia Skripal fallout | Daily Star

BRITAIN has opened fire once again in a scathing war of words today over Russia’s involvement in the spy poisoning scandal.

Gavin Williamson: The world has ‘entered a new era of warfare’ – The Scotsman

Britain’s Defence Secretary said the world has “entered a new era of warfare” and labelled Russian president Vladimir Putin’s behaviour “malign”.

UK defense minister says world’s patience towards Putin is running out

Williamson said the world entered a new dangerous era of war…

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson: The world is in a new era of warfare | City A.M.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson has warned that the world has “entered a new era of warfare” as relations between Russia and the West become increasingly

Ex-Russian spy poisoning a ‘new era of warfare,’ UK Defense Secretary says, amid diplomatic fallout | Fox News

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson warned of a “new era of warfare” as the fallout from the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter on U.K. soil continues to grow.

Graham lauds Trump on North Korea, but says Russia ‘running wild’ – To Inform is to Influence

More than most Senators, Lindsey Graham knows what the United States, in conjunction with much of the rest of the world, is capable of doing against Russia. He is a former USAF attorney and is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a very powerful position. He is also painfully aware of what the US…

Lindsey Graham wants Trump to do more to counter Russian influence: They’re ‘running wild’

Graham criticized President Trump’s response to Russian aggression.

Lindsey Graham wants Trump to do more to counter Russian influence: They’re ‘running wild’ – To Inform is to Influence

by Kyle Feldscher  | April 01, 2018 12:42 PM Whatever President Trump is trying to do to counter Russian influence is not working because Russia is “running wild,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday. Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” Trump needs to be more forceful in pushing against Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The problem is…

Despite Soft Rhetoric, Trump Administration Draws Hard Line On Russia : NPR

Foreign tensions have escalated after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. NPR’s Sarah McCammon talks about the diplomatic tit for tat with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst.

Kremlin: Donald Trump invites Russian President Vladimir Putin to White House

President Trump has invited Vladimir Putin to the White House, but much planning remains amid strains in the relationship, the Kremlin said Monday.

Trump Invited Putin to White House for Summit, Kremlin Says – Bloomberg

The U.S. president didn’t propose just any summit, according to the Russian government.

German minister wants to rebuild trust with Russia after spy standoff

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wants to resume dialogue with Russia and gradually improve ties after diplomatic expulsions over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England that Britain blames on Russia, he said on Sunday.

A contrary stance on Russia | Otago Daily Times Online News

Russia has threatened to stop buying food from Australia, causing Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop to respond with disappointment. For some countries, this is just a diplomatic game. For others, like the US and the UK, much more is at stake. New Zealand has nothing to lose from expelling perhaps two or three Russians. They are likely to be low-level diplomats who can be recalled sometime in the future. There is of course the possibility there are no real Russian spies in New Zealand, or if there are, they cannot be identified. It does seem a large stretch, however, a member of the Five Eyes coalition does not attract at least some passing attention from Russia. After all, it seems from a distance to be a much easier process to secure intelligence from a country like New Zealand than, say, the US or Canada. The issue now for the Government is how to condemn Russian actions with more than words. Ms Ardern and Mr Peters have got themselves into a tangle over what to do next. However, it is Ms Ardern who must front up and explain to New Zealanders what her Government is expecting to gain in such a contrary stance on Russia.

Ukraine’s ex-president recalls his poisoning 14 years ago | Daily Mail Online

Yushchenko suffered horrific disfigurement after he was fed dioxin, a chemical found in the herbicide Agent Orange, while eating dinner with the head of Ukraine’s security service.  He was the pro-European candidate standing against pro-Russian Yanukovych Yushchenko blames Russia for the poisoning, which he has described in detail. He wants European countries to stick together and face Russian intervention.

Editorial: Put Russia on the List | The Weekly Standard

The international effort to punish Vladimir Putin for the March 4 attempt to assassinate Sergei Skripal and his daughter is an enormously encouraging sign that free nations are at last turning against the Kremlin and its dictator. Britain has expelled 23 Russian diplomats from their posts in the U.K., to which Russia responded by expelling 23 British diplomats. The U.S. expelled 60 Russian diplomats; the Russians responded reciprocally. And on March 30 Russia released video of the test launch of a new intercontinental missile, charmingly called Satan II—a calculated show of defiance toward NATO. Some western media outlets interpret these tit-for-tat moves as troubling signals of souring relations between Russia and the west. They are that, certainly. But it’s better that relations should sour than that anybody should persist in the delusion that Putin’s regime is something other than an international menace. An idea that deserves more discussion: placing Russia on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea was added (or rather re-added) to that list in November of last year. Sudan has been on the list since 1993; Iran since 1984; Syria since 1979. That Russia deserves to be on that list is difficult to deny. For several years, as a U.N. report recently revealed in harrowing detail, the Kremlin has funded militias to terrorize the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia is all but openly backing Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria—a regime that has repeatedly and wantonly used chemical weapons against civilian populations. Russian relations with Iran are murkier, but the two states grow closer by the month, making Russia almost certainly a de facto if not de jure abetter of Middle East terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. It’s widely known that the Russians send money and military aid to Cuba and Venezuela, both of which rule their peoples in party by terrorizing them. And the U.S., including President Trump personally, has long accused Russia of illegally aiding the world’s worst terrorist regime, North Korea.

Russian world chess champion Garry Kasparov calls for a political boycott of the 2018 World Cup

World-renowned chess champion Garry Kasparov calls for a boycott of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Kasparov addressed his concerns to foreign politicians in his column for the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. A Russian Grandmaster, the 13th world chess champion Kasparov said that by boycotting the tournament at such a late stage, the individual teams would only be punishing themselves. “In principle, I do not favor late boycotts of sporting events, since I believe it punishes only the athletes. What I do favor is the political boycott of the [current] regime in Moscow and those hostile actions that the Russian leadership is taking,” Kasparov wrote in his column. Ian Austin, a Labour Party MP, compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to the leader of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler, and stated that the England national team should boycott the tournament. According to him, Putin uses the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Russia this year as a “PR exercise,” just as Hitler used the 1936 Olympics in Germany. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson agreed with Austin. This opinion was expressed during discussion in Parliament. “In the transformation of the lieutenant-colonel of the KGB who dreamt, in his own words, about the career of the oligarch, but by an unexpected turn of fate rose to the pinnacle of power… into a mad dictator, able to burn the world in the fire of the nuclear apocalypse, there have been considerable contributions by domestic thought leaders, fastidious persons, for many years, for the sake of their own comfort and well-being, constantly finding justification of the gradual sliding of Russia into the Fascist swamp,” Kasparov said.

Anders Aslund: It’s time to go after Putin’s money in the West | Opinion | omaha.com

The writer, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, is writing a book about Russia’s crony capitalism. He wrote this for the Washington Post. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s initial response to the attack with a nerve agent in England was old-school. She expelled 23 Russian diplomats, allowing Moscow to expel the same number of British diplomats and close the British Council and a British consulate in Russia. The joint Western action of 27 additional countries expelling Russian intelligence agents on March 26 added new force to the retaliation, but President Vladimir Putin can shrug this off. Russia has now said it is expelling a similar number of diplomats from the countries involved. What would be even better is a crackdown on Kremlin money in the West — and the best place to start is by taking on the problem of anonymous ownership. The West should go after the money that the Putin regime has moved here. Russia’s economic means are limited. Therefore, the Kremlin prefers cheap asymmetric or hybrid warfare, such as the hacking of elections, cyberwarfare, manipulation of social media and the corruption of foreign politicians. We need to respond asymmetrically, hurting the Kremlin more than it hurts us. Putin controls the Russian state institutions, its secret police and its big state companies. Together with a few old friends from St. Petersburg, the president is tapping the big state companies through overpriced no-bid procurement, transfer pricing, asset stripping and stock manipulation. They are also making money by extorting old oligarchs and taking loans from state banks, not to be returned. Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered outside the Kremlin, and still-active opposition politician Vladimir Milov exposed this kleptocracy in their booklet “Putin and Gazprom” in 2008. A more extensive account in English is Karen Dawisha’s book “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?” The Panama Papers, a series of leaked documents on offshore accounts released in April 2016, offered plenty of evidence of Putin’s secret wealth.

DNA Edit: Russian Roulette

DNA Edit: Russian Roulette – Strong arm tactics will not work with Putin

Willis L Krumholz | Yes, Russia is a threat — but America needs to play a shrewder game. Here’s what that means | Fox News

Several weeks ago, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped over a park bench in the English town of Salisbury.

Getting Putin’s attention – The Blade

The Russian government is said to be stunned by the American president’s joining in the censoring of Mr. Putin’s brutal ways. But, as with many surprising things Mr. Trump does, the attention of the targeted party has been captured. The questions now are two-fold: Is there an effective way to hold Mr. Putin’s attention and nudge him toward more civilized behavior? And can this be done while Mr. Trump continues to court Mr. Putin, and to insist that it is better to talk with the Russians than to reignite the Cold War? He’s right about the latter goal. But events have proven that the former goal is vitally necessary.

Putin stays put As the Empire strikes back – Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka Latest Breaking News and Headlines

Putin stays put As the Empire strikes back, Trade wars, diplomatic expulsions, domestic political battles, North Korean leader Kim’s trip to China were few events that took global media attention….

Beyond the spy games: Uncovering the structural problems in Europe’s security – Daily Sabah

Sergei Skripal worked as a double agent for Russian and British intelligence agencies and helped to uncover some of Russia’s intelligence operations in…

Bishops’ Easter sermons: Salisbury Skripal poisoning ‘like a John le Carre novél’

THE poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and growing tensions with Russia have featured in bishops’…

America Must Drop Its Delusions about Dealing with Russia

 

Russian role in Skripal attack highly dubious

“First, the verdict, then the trial.” Once again we are living the tale of “Alice in Wonderland”.

No room in the Skripal saga for alternative theories

Politics is trumping common sense since the poisoning of the former spy in Salisbury.

Media: More than a dozen vials of Novichok poison were lost from Russian Research Institute

Nine to fourteen vials of the poisonous substance Novichok disappeared from the Russian Institute during the 1990s, an analogue of which, according to the United Kingdom, was used to poison former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal. According to the Russian news outlet the Republic, the investigative evidence of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office and the FSB indicate the involvement of scientist Leonid Rink in the poison’s disappearance. Rink worked as head of the laboratory at the State Research Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Organoelement Compounds in the city of Shkihany in Saratov oblast. He then worked at the State Institute of Organic Synthesis Technology (GITOS), which in 2005 became a branch of the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology in Shikhany. The last of these institutions played a role in the creation of Novichok, according to the information provided by the substance’s co-developer, chemist Vil Mirzayanov. The Republic writes that the investigation’s materials refer to the sale of nine to fourteen vials – that is, 2.25-3.27 grams of Novichok – to scientists. Simultaneously, eight to nine vials were obtained by unknown individuals from Chechnya. The publication emphasizes that enough poison was stolen to poison more than four thousand people. Czech President Miloš Zeman earlier appointed Michal Koudelka, head of the Security and Information Service (SBI), to verify a theory about the possible production of a group of Novichok nerve agents in the country.

New theory of Skripal poisoning – The Sun

The poisoning substance could have been put in the gifts that Yulia’s friend brought from Russia.

Russian spy poisoning: Skripal friend questioned over request for porridge | News | The Times

A friend of Yulia Skripal has been questioned by police after flying into Britain with a £1 bag of Russian porridge for her father, Sergei Skripal.Counterterrorism police are continuing to investigate how Ms Skripal, 33, and her father, 66, a former double agent, came to be poisoned with a militar

Russia spy attack: Salisbury Cathedral faces cash crisis after 40% drop in tourism | Daily Star

SALISBURY Cathedral faces a cash crisis after a 40% drop in tourism following the deadly nerve agent attack.

‘Salisbury isn’t about bad news’: signs of recovery a month after spy attack | UK news | The Guardian

Decontamination begins at sites linked to nerve agent attack as life starts getting back to normal

After London, How Lasers Will Play a Role in Detecting Chemical Attacks Sooner – Defense One

A new technique can detect trace elements of dangerous chemicals in extremely small doses, a breakthrough of relevance to the horror show playing out …

 

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