Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK (31)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russian propaganda and disinformation campaign intensifies, to the extent that their failed OPCW pitch was appropriately labelled as “histrionics”. The Porton Down statement provided traction for only several hours, until the OPCW voted and Russia lost 2:1. The Russian escalation play is to call a UNSC meeting to complain about the evil British bullying poor little Russia. The barrage of personal and collective insults aimed at individuals, and the UK and US collectively, fits the “firehose of falsehoods” label exactly. This is the same style of campaign, at similar tempo and intensity, to that the Russians launched against an unsuspecting Ukraine in early 2014, with the initial Krymnash and then NovoRossiyacampaigns. While these campaigns were successful inside Russia, even dividing families with members in the two countries, they produced adverse effects across most of Ukraine – being vilified as Nazis did not sell well with most Ukrainians, even if many gullible Western politicians and media swallowed the deceptions completely. It is likely the Russians will flop in the UNSC as well. Notable propaganda stunts include an alleged phone recording of Yulia Skripal and her cousin, complaints that the UK is refusing to report on the condition of the Skripals’ pet cats and guinea pigs, or on their last meal before the attack.  Sputnik have now declared the UK media to be transforming into an “Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth’”. Excellent analyses by Pavlova and Khaldey.

UK state they are now almost certain as to which Russian lab produced the chemical agent. DNI announces more US measures forthcoming, and sanction announcements to be made soon (while Russia says there are no oligarchs in Russia). Some excellent OpEds from the UK and US press.

Ms Skripal issues her first public statement since the attack: “I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily. I have many people to thank for my recovery and would especially like to mention the people of Salisbury that came to my aid when my father and I were incapacitated. Further than that, I would like to thank the staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their care and professionalism. I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence.”  No UK reports on the status of Col. Skripal. OPCW reports on test samples expected soon.

Finally, some choice samples of Russia apologia.

Russia Takes Skripal Poisoning Case Before UN Security Council

Russia takes its case before the UN Security Council on April 5, calling for an international investigation into the poisoning of a Russian spy in Britain one day after losing a bid for a joint investigation by the global chemical weapons watchdog.

Russia seeks to discredit UK with special meeting of UN security council | UK news | The Guardian

Moscow move follows blunders by Boris Johnson and Foreign Office over Skripal poisoning

Russia calls UN security council meeting over Salisbury nerve agent attack – CNN

Russia has called a United Nations Security Council meeting for Thursday as it seeks to undermine Britain’s case that it was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian former spy.

Russia calls for new international order – News – NHK WORLD – English

Russia has called for the creation of a new international order that’s not led by Western nations. Close aides to President Vladimir Putin spoke at an annual international conference on security in Moscow on Wednesday. The rift between Russia and the West deepened after the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain. About 850 people took part in the conference. Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and other government officials, as well as Indian and Iranian security experts, were among them. Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said a multipolar world order is emerging, in which countries cooperate in tackling shared challenges in line with international law. Sergei Naryshkin, head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, argued that Western nations feel uncomfortable with the fact that countries taking part in the meeting are playing proactive roles. He asserted that Western nations are unprepared for this change.

Russian spy chief blames U.S., British agencies for Skripal poisoning

Russia’s foreign intelligence agency chief Sergei Naryshkin said on Wednesday that the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain was an act of provocation by U.S. and British intelligence services.

Moscow: US using ‘non-existent Russian threat’ to boost military | TheHill

Top Russian officials are accusing the United States of using a “non-existent” threat to justify a new arms race between Washington and Moscow.

Russia Accuses U.K., U.S. of Poisoning Spy to Maintain Western Unity – Bloomberg

Russia’s spy chief accused the U.K. and the U.S. of poisoning a former double agent to maintain Western unity against Moscow.

The Latest: Envoy says abstentions show support for Russia

Russia’s envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says the number of countries that abstained from a vote to allow Russia to join the investigation of an ex-spy’s poisoning shows widespread uneasiness with Britain

Russia SHOCK CLAIM: 17 countries were PRESSURED by USA and UK to stand against Putin | World | News |

RUSSIAN Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko claimed the international community has shown a clear intention to disassociate itself from the UK and the US over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal following the failed Russian proposal of a new joint investigation of the case.

Russia latest: Putin demands Johnson ‘apologises’ to EU | UK | News |

PUTIN spokesman Dmitry Peskow said Boris Johnson will have to ‘apologise’ to his EU colleagues for his statements on Russia’s involvement in the Salisbury poison attack after analysis results cast doubts on Moscow’s role in the attempted murder of double-agent Sergei Skripal.

Sergei Skripal poisoning: Russia trolls UK foreign office over tweet

THE UK Foreign Office has raised eyebrows for deleting a tweet in which it claimed that experts had established that the nerve agent used in the Salisbury poisoning case was “produced in Russia”.

TASS: Society & Culture – Skripal’s niece claims to have had telephone call with Yulia Skripal — media

The woman claiming to be Yulia Skripal adds that Sergei Skripal «is alright» MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. Former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal’s niece Viktoria Skripal claims to have had a telephone call with her cousin Yulia, the Rossiya-1 TV channel reported on Thursday. The recording has Viktoria Skripal talking to another woman who introduces herself as Yulia Skripal. She says that she is doing fine. Viktoria informs her she plans to come to London on Monday provided she receives a visa, but the other woman says that “no one will give you a visa.” The woman claiming to be Yulia Skripal adds that Sergei Skripal “is all right.” “Everyone is recovering, everyone survived… No irreparable harm was done. That’s all, I will soon be discharged from the hospital,” she said.

Russian state TV claims Sergei Skripal’s daughter revealed her dad is ‘getting better’ in phone call from her hospital bed

A recording of a conversation claiming to be between poisoned Yulia and her cousin was made public on Wednesday evening on state TV.

Daughter of ex-spy poisoned in UK says she and her father are recovering – Russian state TV

Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned in Britain along with her father Sergei, has phoned her cousin in Russia and said they are both recovering and that she expects to leave hospital soon, Russian state TV and the Interfax news agency reported on Thursday.

I want to take Yulia Skripal home to Russia, says cousin | News | The Times

A cousin of Yulia Skripal has said that she wants to visit the poisoning victim in hospital and take her home to Russia.Viktoria Skripal, 45, said that British diplomats in Moscow had indicated that a meeting should be possible if Yulia gave permission. “I want to see Yulia and understand how she

Niece of ex-spy poisoned in UK wants to bring his daughter home to Russia

The niece of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy poisoned in Britain with his daughter, says she plans to travel to England and try to bring back Yulia, Skripal’s daughter, to Russia.

Skripals’ Last Restaurant Order Not Released by UK, Niece Tells Russian TV – Sputnik International

Victoria Skripal, the niece of the former Russian intelligence officer poisoned in Salisbury, England, has given her thoughts on the incident during an interview with Russia’s Channel One TV network.

The Latest: Russia seeks status of poisoned ex-spy’s pets | The Sacramento Bee

Russia’s Foreign Ministry wants Britain to provide information about the pets that lived in the house of the Russian former spy who was poisoned with nerve agent in England a month ago.

UK can’t ignore ‘legitimate questions’ over spy poisoning: Moscow | News , World | THE DAILY STAR

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday London cannot ignore Moscow’s “legitimate questions” over the poisoning of an ex-spy, as he called for a “substantial and responsible” probe into the case.

Lavrov: UK is ‘mocking’ diplomatic ethics in Skripal case – POLITICO

Russia has requested a UN Security Council meeting to discuss British accusations Moscow is behind nerve agent attack.

Diplomat expulsions a mockery of international law, says Russia | Echo

Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal was ‘staged’.

Britain behaving like ‘mafia state’ in Skripal case – OSCE ex-VP Willy Wimmer — RT UK News

The UK is exploiting European solidarity and behaving like a ‘mafia state’ by pushing forward warmongering accusations and excluding Russia from the Skripal poisoning probe, the former vice-president of OSCE assembly told RT.

Who is Willy Wimmer? – Dialog International

Wimmer The Tagesspiegel has a piece discussing the “Querfront” (literally: “Cross-Front”) movement in Germany which unites the far-left and far-right in hatred of the United States, support of Putin, and rejection of mainstream press (Ein Netzwerk für Putin und Pegida). A key figure in the Quefront movement is Willy Wimmer, who served in the Bundestag for 33 years and was the defense spokesman for the CDU (Christian Democrats). Wimmer is an outspoken critic of the United States and a reliable apologist for the Kremlin. I note that Willy Wimmer will speak at the upcoming anti-American Berlin conference on the US “occupation” (Besatzung) of Germany.

An Interview with Retired Russian General Evgeny Buzhinsky | The National Interest

A retired Russian general says that relations between the United States and Russia are more dangerous than during the Cold War.

How the Ex-Spy Case is Transforming UK Media Into Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth’ – Sputnik International

The admission by scientists from the Porton Down defense lab that that they could not actually verify the source of the nerve agent used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter has not stopped British media from blaming Russia for the affair, or calling on London to take an even tougher stance against the Russians.

Russia’s influence is much more than propaganda and fake news – To Inform is to Influence

04/04/2018 By Vincent Charles Keating and Katarzyna Kaczmarska The concern over Russia’s influence in the West has grown considerably in the past few years, particularly the Russian regime’s use of information technologies to malign unfriendly Western politicians and undermine the Western public’s faith in democracy. Christopher Paul and Miriam Matthews, for instance, argued that Russia’s…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Thinks He’s Winning and is Expanding His Stalinist Attack on West, Pavlova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 3 – Many in the West following the decision of more than 20 countries to expel Russian diplomats to show solidarity with the British think that Vladimir Putin has been driven into an untenable position and soon will be forced to back down in the face of this Western resolve, Irina Pavlova says. But that is not how Putin views things, the US-based Russian historian says He doesn’t feel he “trapped” but rather in a position to intensify his attacks on the West because he “considers himself smarter” that his Western counterparts and thus is “raising the stakes” in ways that the West has forgotten how to counter ( According to Pavlova, the Kremlin’s strategy toward the West has been in place for some time and is based on “a vision of Russia as a great power in the Stalinist style for namely under him and in his understanding, the country experienced the peak of great power status, having generated a model for emulation.” The only difference is that Stalin strove to Sovietize Western countries while “Putin and company seek the fundamental weakening of the West and the destruction of close coordination between Europe and the US.” Given that goal, the historian continues, the Kremlin’s power depends not on its GDP but on “consistently, decisively and aggressively speculating on the weaknesses and problems of present-day Western civilization” and on Moscow’s ability to use the technological achievements of the West “to strengthen [the Russian] regime.” Putin’s strength is further enhanced by the fact that he “adroitly plays on the human weaknesses of the representatives of Western countries, corrupting some successfully, dividing and perverting them.” As for the sanctions the West threatens, “they only strengthen this regime above all in the eyes of its own population.” In response to the Western expulsion of Russian diplomats, Pavlova says, Putin adopted not only the mirror response of expelling Western diplomats but directly “accused the countries of Western civilization not simply in Russophobia but in the support of Nazism” Unfortunately, up to now, few in the West have taken note of this in the serious way it deserves. That charge is part of a special operation which is “the most important part of the great power strategy of the present-day Kremlin.” Today in fact, the Stalinists in Russia are enjoying their greatest heyday since 1953. And while the West doesn’t want to admit it, it is confronted by a Russia that has become “a Brave Re-Stalinized World.” This strategy, Pavlova argues, is being used by the Kremlin to “completely justify both the Stalinist USSR and Stalin, who [in its vision] ‘saved Western civilization from Nazism/fascism.” Indeed, “the Russian authorities have for a long time successfully privatized the role of the chief world fighter” against “the invented threat” of the revival of Nazism. Putin’s Russia seeks to portray the Western world as facilitating this invented threat “not only in the former Soviet republics of the USSR – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine – but in the Western countries themselves,” she argues. And it has created an organization “The World Without Nazism” with branches in many countries including the US to push this line. “The sad fact of present-day reality is that the West is not prepared to oppose modernized Stalinism,” Pavlova says. Expelling diplomats and imposing economic sanctions “will not solve the problem. Nor will even a revived containment as that term is usually understood do the trick, she argues. Instead, the West must face up to the challenge of how to “force Russia forever to stop falling for the temptations of Stalinist great power notions.” And to do that, it must start with an understanding of what it means that Putin has chosen Stalin and Stalinism as his models for emulation and legitimation. “It is possible,” Pavlova says, “that “’the key’ to the resolution of the world problem known as ‘Russia’ should be sought precisely here.” What must happen, she argues, is that the Nuremburg tribunal must be reconstituted to render judgment on the other totalitarian system of the 20th century, Soviet communism. “Only by depriving present-day Stalinism of its foundation can one hope for a normal relationship with Russia in a globalized world.”

Putin Thinks He’s Winning and is Expanding His Stalinist Attack on West, Pavlova Says – To Inform is to Influence

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 Paul Goble Staunton, April 3 – Many in the West following the decision of more than 20 countries to expel Russian diplomats to show solidarity with the British think that Vladimir Putin has been driven into an untenable position and soon will be forced to back down in the face of…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia has ‘a Deep State’ Too and Putin has Long Been Part of It, Khaldey Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 3 – The term “deep state,” Aleksandr Khaldey says, “has firmly entered into the arsenal of [Russian] commentary and analysis” of countries like the United States and Turkey; but given that the phenomenon exists in all countries where elites pursue expansion in order to secure their national interests, “it is hard to assume that there isn’t one in Russia.” Indeed, the Russian commentator writes on Modest Kolerov’s Rex news portal, the existence of a deep state since Soviet times is the only way “to explain the phenomenon of Putin,” who along with others opposed the “comprador” behavior of those who it is customary to call “liberals”( “This can be explained only by the presence in Russia of its own deep state whose activity did not cease for a single minute even in the period of the collapse of the USSR, the period of Yeltsin’s administration and of the surrender of all government and national interests,” a group who has allowed Russia to come back. According to Khaldey, “a deep state in Russia exists and the results of its activity are evident to the unaided eye.” No one outside its ranks knows whether it is structured like an order, but it is clear that there are several levels within it, a certain center as well as peripheral groups, and that it includes people in a wide variety of places. “The goal of the deep state in Russia is the expansion of Russia, economic, informational, political and military. That is, the deep state in Russia pursues imperial coals and considers this the only form of the survival of the country … Not every country is in a position to set such goals. There are only a few such states in the world [but] Russia is among their number.” Various institutions can serve to mobilize the population around such an idea, Khaldey continues. “For example, in the USSR, the CPSU organizationally and ideologically secured expansion but when these instruments turned out not to be suitable, they were dispensed with” by the deep state. “Now,” the commentator says, “the deep state in Russia secures the organization of the fulfillment of the goal of expansion through a multitude of institutions such as the government, the Duma, the ruling and opposition parties … [as well as] key figures in the media” and in other walks of life. On the whole, he continues, “the deep state mastered the situation after the disintegration of the USSR and its customary institutions of administration. The direct agent network of the enemy was expelled form the organs of legislative and executive power, the agents of influence were taken under control and localized, and their activity neutralized.” “But the chief signs of the deep state in Russia are the return of Crimea and the victory in Syria,” and the inability of the West to threaten Russia “with financial collapse …. Sanctions have not worked and the elites have not split apart.” And as a result, the West has had to choose between nuclear conflict with Russia or “organized retreat. It has chosen the latter.” And the West has at last come to understand that “victory over Russia is a misconception and that Russia is winning back what it earlier lost.” In this, he says, it is important to remember that “any return to lost positions is an attack, and any attack is expansion and involves the extension of borders.” The West is horrified by that and is doing all it can to block Russia, but Russia is succeeding because of the power of its own “deep state.” Indeed, all of Russia’s moves in this direction would be “impossible without the strengthening in Russia of the deep state, of that group of people who created the conditions for the transformation of society and the achievement of new milestones of development,” Khaldey argues. “The deep state of Russia has entered into an unseen mortal conflict with the deep state of the US. The forces as usual are not equal, but in Russia from the time of Suvorov, people fight not on the basis of numbers but ability. And judging by results, they have not done all that badly.”

UK locates source of novichok nerve agent used in Salisbury | News | The Times

Security services believe that they have pinpointed the location of the covert Russian laboratory that manufactured the weapons-grade nerve agent used in Salisbury, The Times has learnt. Ministers and security officials were able to identify the source using scientific analysis and intelligence in

Report: Britain believes it has found Russian lab that made nerve agent used in Salisbury attack – CBS News

The international chemical weapons watchdog on Wednesday rejected Russia's call for a joint investigation into the Salisbury poisoning

U.K. Says ‘All Roads Lead to Russia’ in Poisoned Spy Case – Bloomberg

The U.K. said all evidence points to Russia in the case of the former spy poisoned in southern England, in an effort to regain the upper hand in the face of a Russian blitz to discredit its investigation.

Russian spy: Moscow bid for joint poisoning inquiry fails at OPCW – BBC News

A proposal for a new inquiry into the Salisbury poisoning fails at the chemical weapons watchdog.

Russia loses vote to join UK probe into spy attack | TheHill

The international chemical weapons watchdog on Wednesday rejected a request by Moscow to launch a joint probe with the United Kingdom into the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent. According to Agence France-Presse, 15 countries voted against Russia’s draft motion at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), while six countries voted in favor and 17 abstained. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to have two-thirds of the votes in support of that decision. A qualified majority was needed,” Russian ambassador Alexander Shulgin said, according to AFP. ADVERTISEMENT Western officials have blamed Moscow for the March 4 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, on British soil. The U.K. has said it is “highly likely” that Russia carried out the attack. Moscow has denied any role in the nerve-agent attack, and has blamed the West for harboring an anti-Russia bias. John Foggo, a British chemical weapons expert, told the OPCW’s governing executive council on Wednesday that the U.K would not work with Russia on a joint investigation, calling the proposal from Moscow “perverse,” according to AFP.

Russia Loses Vote to Join Spy Poisoning Probe; Next Stop UN | World News | US News

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s spymaster says the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in Britain was staged by U.K. and U.S. intelligence agencies.

Russian bid for joint inquiry into England spy poisoning fails

Russia’s call for a joint inquiry to be held into the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in England failed on Wednesday when it was outvoted 15-6 at a meeting of the global chemical weapons watchdog.

The Latest: Russia loses vote to join UK poisoning probe | Charlotte Observer

Britain says Russia’s proposal for a joint investigation of the nerve-agent poisoning of a Russian former spy and his daughter got only six votes at a special session of the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Russia Fails to Muster Support for Joint Inquiry Into England Spy Poisoning

Russia’s call for a joint inquiry to be held into the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in England failed on Wednesday when it was outvoted 15-6 at a meeting of the global chemical weapons watchdog. Russia had called an emergency meeting of the decision-making executive of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to counter accusations by Britain that it was behind the March 4 nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England. U.K.’s security services believe they have pinpointed the location of Russian laboratory that manufactured the nerve agent Novichok used in Salisbury attack, The Times reported on Wednesday. Britain was aware of the existence of the site before March 4, the report said. It cited an unidentified security source as saying they have a “high degree of confidence in the location”.

U.S. Diplomat Expulsions Deepen Divisions With Russia – WSJ

U.S. diplomats were leaving Russia hours after the Kremlin failed to garner support for a joint investigation into the use of a Soviet-era nerve agent in the U.K., moves that underscore the deepening divisions between Russia and the West.

UK blasts Russia’s ‘perverse’ demand for joint probe into spy poisoning

A top British official on Wednesday rejected the idea of joining forces with Russia to investigate how a former Russian spy was poisoned in England, after British Prime Minister Theresa May openly accused Russia of being behind the plot.

U.K. Slip-Up Hands Russia the Initiative in War of Spin Over Spy Poisoning – Bloomberg

When the U.K. government released a video on social media on March 19 to counter what it said was “denial, distraction and disinformation” from Russia over the attempted murder of a former spy in Salisbury, it was an unashamed pitch for the high ground. Britain was staking its position as a bastion of integrity.

MoD failure to ascribe novichok blame makes intelligence the key factor in justifying claims against Russia | The Independent

We are now in the middle of one of the most serious confrontations between the West and Russia in recent times with little chance of relations improving and the likelihood that it could become even worse.

Britain’s Foreign Office deleted a tweet accusing Russia of poisoning Sergei Skripal after accidentally overstating its case | Business Insider

The UK Foreign Office cited military scientists in tweets last month directly linking the attack to Russia. However, officials later realised they had overstated their case, and that it was intelligence rather than science pointing to Russia. They deleted the tweet, to the delight of Moscow, which has been trying to undermine the UK’s accusations against it. Britain says it still believes that Russia is to blame. But the retraction is an embarrassment when the UK wants to project certainty.

UK government deletes tweet about Russian spy’s poisoning – CNN

Britain’s claim that Moscow was behind the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy faced fresh scrutiny after the UK government admitted to deleting a tweet about the incident.

Diane Abbott claims Corbyn was right to question Salisbury attack | Daily Mail Online

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was ‘lamentable’ Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was choosing to ‘side with the Russian spin machine’. Abbott has accused Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of misleading the public. Johnson said on TV that scientists had told him the nerve agent was from Russia. Porton Down said last night it was not able to say where the substance was made . Putin seized on the apparent confusion to call for an outbreak of ‘common sense’.

Russian spy: Labour urges probe over Johnson comments – BBC News

Labour questions whether the foreign secretary “misled” the public over the Salisbury poisonings.

Boris Johnson accuses Corbyn of ‘playing Russia’s game’ over spy poisoning | Metro News

Boris Johnson has accused Jeremy Corbyn of ‘siding with the Russian spin machine’ after he accused him of exaggerating. The Foreign Secretary has been criticised after he claimed MoD scientists…

Boris Johnson accuses Jeremy Corbyn of ‘playing Russia’s game’ over Salisbury spy poisoning

Boris Johnson has accused Jeremy Corbyn of &quot;siding with the Russian spin machine&quot; over the poisoning of a spy in Salisbury.

Boris Johnson accuses Jeremy Corbyn of ‘siding with Russian spin machine’ – ITV News

Read Boris Johnson accuses Jeremy Corbyn of ‘siding with Russian spin machine’ latest on ITV News. All the news

Theresa May to visit Sweden and Denmark next week – The Local

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to hold talks with her Scandinavian counterparts Stefan Löfven and Lars Løkke Rasmussen next week.

Britain’s new warfare doctrine looks familiar |

The difference between the UK s fusion strategy and Russia s hybrid one is subtle but London needs to keep the lines clear

US will take more steps against Russia | WJLA

WASHINGTON (AP) The top U.S. intelligence chief says America is considering taking additional retaliation against Russia for its actions against the United States and its allies.

Top Spy Official: US Will Take More Steps against Russia |

The top U.S. intelligence chief says America is considering taking additional retaliation against Russia for its actions against the United States and its allies.

U.S. Reported Poised To Impose New Sanctions On Russian Billionaires

The United States plans to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia, this time targeting Russian billionaires with ties to President Vladimir Putin, media are reporting.

‘There are no Oligarchs in Russia,’ Kremlin Claims Amid Reports of New U.S. Sanctions

The Kremlin has said that Russia has no oligarchs, following reports that the U.S. is preparing to enact a new wave of sanctions against Russian tycoons. Sources told Reuters on Wednesday that Washington was planning to sanction Russian oligarchs as early as this week under a law targeting Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

US diplomats head home | Euronews

Retaliatory expulsions in the wake of Skripal poisoning

Some 37 Ukrainian diplomats remain in Russia | KyivPost

In Russia, 37 Ukrainian diplomats remain in the diplomatic service, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine for European Integration Olena Zerkal has said. “There are 37 of our diplomats. And now we are submitting the missing number for approval,” she said at a meeting of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Affairs on April 4. According to Zerkal, it is possible that there will be 13 diplomats to replace the deported ones. The deputy minister added that the Foreign Ministry is working to ensure the protection of the rights of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, despite the expulsion of diplomats. As reported, on March 26, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the expulsion of 13 Russian diplomats “in response to the cynical chemical attack in Salisbury.” On March 28, Russian diplomats left the territory of Ukraine.

McMaster Unleashes on Russia in Final Speech – Foreign Policy

The outgoing national security advisor took one last swipe at Putin’s efforts to undermine Western democracies.

Outgoing U.S. Security Adviser: West Has ‘Failed To Impose Sufficient Costs’ On Russia

Outgoing White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster has called for stronger measures against Russian “threats” and “provocations,” arguing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is mistaken in thinking the West will not push back against the Kremlin’s “hybrid warfare.”

Ukraine diplomat: West signals it has had enough of Russian aggression | UNIAN

Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe Dmytro Kuleba has said the collective effort to expel Russian diplomats from most European countries in response to the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal was a signal showing that the West has had enough of Russian aggression, and is willing to make sure Moscow realizes this.In a column for Novoye Vremya, the diplomat states the expulsion of Russian diplomats has made it possible to identify one weakness, which is extremely important for the prospects of further developments: the EU’s inability to unanimous action on fundamental issues. “The European Union failed to fulfill the most important demand put forward against itself – to act unanimously on fundamental issues of foreign policy and security. The fact that one of the states has found strength to back away from the principle of a unified EU is bad news. But there is also a good one: the European Union has put the need for an effective reaction in a critical situation above the need to demonstrate unity,” Kuleba told the Novoe Vremya weekly. The diplomat also points out that there is a critical moment for Ukraine in the story of Skripal poisoning: “Our partners take on Kyiv’s message and logic that Russia is holding at gunpoint the entire West, not only Ukraine.” “It’s just that they employ optimal weapons against each country. Depending on tasks and conditions, they attack with ‘little green men,’ tanks, Buk systems, fake news, hacking, election meddling, bribed politicians, or a mix of everything mentioned, as it is the case with Ukraine.” “Chemical attack in the British Salisbury is rightfully called another step in Russia’s aggressive policy initially unleashed against Ukraine in 2014. It is put on a par with the annexation of Crimea, invasion of Donbas, downed MH17, impact on U.S. elections, spread of fake news, cyberattacks, and support of radicals in a number of EU countries, a failed coup in Montenegro, and crimes in Syria. The list of Russian acts is impressive. Judging by Moscow’s boorish response to the West’s defensive reaction, it will be replenished,” Kuleba said.

Shashank Joshi | Skripal: the weight of evidence | The Interpreter

The alternatives to Russian culpability in the nerve agent attack strain credulity.

Truth and Lies in Britain and Russia – WSJ

Apologists for Putin treat the chemical attack like a ‘CSI’ episode. By The Editorial Board April 4, 2018 6:39 p.m. ET 27 COMMENTS More evidence is emerging about last month’s chemical attack in Salisbury, England. A British government lab has determined that only a state actor could have produced the military-grade nerve agent used in the attempted assassination of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. This is a crucial thread tying Russia to the attack, not that you’d know it from the media and political chatter. Russia’s defenders have seized on the statement by Gary Aitkenhead, head of the Porton Down military lab, that “we have not identified the precise source” of the chemical. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn mocked Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for saying last month that the lab had confirmed the chemical was Russian. Diane Abbott, one of Mr. Corbyn’s deputies in Parliament, claimed Labour’s “more thoughtful approach” to Salisbury had been vindicated. That spin is at best disingenuous. Although the molecules don’t have “Made in Russia” stamps on them, Porton Down has confirmed the chemical is Novichok, which is known to be produced in Russia and nowhere else. The lab says it required “extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor,” as Mr. Aitkenhead told Sky News. He was clear that his conclusion is only one piece of evidence to be evaluated. This finding bolsters Prime Minister Theresa May’s case that Vladimir Putin’s government is responsible for the first use of a chemical weapon on European soil since World War II. Other evidence includes intelligence that Russia has experimented with chemical agents for assassinations and previously targeted former Russian agents—including Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned with radioactive polonium in London in 2006. Mr. Putin would love nothing better than for Western politicians to fall into the rabbit hole of playing molecular “CSI” while ignoring other evidence of Russian culpability. That’s one reason the Kremlin has staged such histrionics at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague, calling for a special session this week to discuss Salisbury and demanding a joint Russian-British investigation to distract from the group’s work on the case. Voters should be asking why politicians such as Mr. Corbyn are so eager to apologize for Mr. Putin. The war of words over the Porton Down analysis comes at an especially sensitive time, since Britain is debating additional responses to the attack.

Hamish De Bretton-Gordon | It’s time for us to fight back against Putin’s poison propaganda

There is no other explanation about where the poison used against Sergei Skripal came from. But a new Cold War of disinformation is being waged by Russia to obscure the truth and it is being conducted over social media, with frightening speed and reach.

Useful idiots are letting Putin off the hook | Comment | The Times

If it wasn’t so bloody serious, you’d have to laugh at the irony of it. Back in August 2004, the then MP for Henley joined a small group of parliamentarians calling for the prime minister, Tony Blair, to be impeached. The reason, wrote Boris Johnson, was the “dishonest means of persuasion” Mr Blair had supposedly deployed in the period before the invasion of Iraq. Nearly 14 years on, it is Mr Johnson accused of being a liar. Two weeks ago (the charge reads) he told a German interviewer that a Porton Down scientist had assured him categorically that the Russian government was responsible for the Skripal attack. But the chief executive of Porton Down, Gary Aitkenhead, interviewed this week, apparently said that his staff couldn’t…

Jeremy Corbyn is (almost) bulletproof – POLITICO

Daily pummeling of Labour leader in the press is unlikely to have much effect on his chances of eventually seizing power.

Mystery Stingray devices discovered in Washington – BBC News

Unauthorised phone tracking devices, which mimic mobile tower to gather information, found in US.

Mystery Stingray devices discovered in Washington – BBC | UNIAN

Spy kits that can track mobile phones and intercept calls and messages have been discovered in Washington and beyond, the U.S. government has said. Stingrays are devices which mimic mobile phone towers to gather data

Russian spy poisoning: Yulia Skripal ‘getting stronger daily’ – BBC News

The daughter of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal makes her first statement since being poisoned.

Yulia Skripal has spoken for the first time since she was poisoned in Salisbury | Business Insider

The daughter of ex-spy Sergei Skripal woke up from a coma last week. Yulia Skripal and her father collapsed in Salisbury last month after being poisoned by military-grade nerve agent. Yulia issued her first public statement on Thursday, in which she described her experience as “somewhat disorienting.” Sergei Skripal remains in critical condition. The statement came as Russian state TV aired a questionable phone conversation in which a woman claiming to be Yulia said she and Sergei were recovering.

Test sample results from Salisbury nerve agent attack expected next week – chemical weapons watchdog | UN News

Results of tests of samples collected from individuals exposed to a nerve agent in Salisbury, the United Kingdom, are expected to be received by early next week, the head of the United Nations-backed body working to rid the world of chemical weapons said on Wednesday. “Once the results of the analyses of the samples are received, the Secretariat will produce a report on the basis of these results and will transmit a copy of this report to the United Kingdom,” Ahmet Üzümcü, the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the body’s Executive Council. “The UK has expressed its wish to be as transparent as possible and has already indicated its preference for disclosure of the report to other States Parties,” he added. The samples were collected from Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, who have been hospitalized since when they were found on a public bench in the English city of Salisbury in early March, after reported exposure to a toxic chemical. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the UK said that it was “highly likely” that Russia was behind the incident using a deadly nerve-agent. The accusations were met by a firm denial by Russia, which as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), requested today’s Executive Council meeting. The UK sent the OPCW samples of the nerve agent within days of the incident. According to OPCW, samples were also collected from a third individual – a police official – reportedly exposed to the chemical. The samples were sealed and brought to the OPCW laboratory on 23 March. An OPCW expert team was deployed to the UK at the country’s request seeking technical assistance in identifying the nature of the toxic chemical reportedly used. In his update, Mr. Üzümcü also said that OPCW team worked independently and in not involved in the national investigation by the UK authorities and that no State Party is involved in the technical work that is being carried out by the Secretariat. The OPCW is the implementing body of the Convention, which came into force in 1997 and outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors.

Russia ‘tested using nerve agent which poisoned spy on door handles’ | Daily Mail Online

British intelligence agencies have evidence that Russia had been testing the deadly agent specifically on door handles in the run-up to the attack in Salisbury on March 3. Russia has explored carrying out assassinations by using Novichok on handles Police have already said they believe nerve agent was smeared on Skripal’s BMW British intelligence agencies have evidence of the tactics being used previously Agents claim to know Moscow also tested the lethal poison on ‘everyday objects’

What is known, and not known, about poisoning of ex-spy in Britain

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal remains critically ill in hospital more than a month after he was poisoned with a nerve agent in the southern English city of Salisbury.

U.K. should accept Russia’s cooperation offer – Melih Altınok – Daily Sabah

The global crisis over the poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, in Salisbury, the U.K., in early March continues.The British government held…

Salisbury spy poisoning: Did CIA carry out attack? MEP in furious World War 3 claim | World | News |

THE US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been accused of orchestrating the Salisbury poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in a bid to trigger World War 3 with the East.

Jeremy Corbyn was right to be cautious about blaming Moscow for the Skripal poisoning | The Independent

Over the past month, Theresa May has received widespread praise for her handling of the ever stranger Skripals affair. Her response can even be said to have revived her fortunes as prime minister and Conservative Party leader, at a time when she was under fire for taking too hard, or more often too soft, a line on Brexit.

Mary Dejevsky | The Independent