Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK / Syrian CW Attack (39)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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It would appear that Russia’s propagandists have been diligently reading Dr Joseph Goebbels: “… when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it”, judging from their latest rather absurd outbursts. But most curious is their convoluted threat to dump another wave of Syrian refugees on the EU, to create divisions in the EU. Mukhin argues that Putin would sooner go to war and lose everything, than exploit the propaganda bonanza of a defeat and withdrawal from Syria.

UK National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill KCMG provides a letter to NATO and European leaders detailing the Salisbury attack (Online copy here), including declassified intel that shows the Russians were planning something for at least 5 years. Former Soviet chemist Mirzayanov observes to Russian media that the attack planners were incompetent, choosing humid conditions that caused the Novichok agent to rapidly degrade – this is such a typical case of Russian press-on-itis it would be comical were it not so tragic. Three instances of Russian propaganda working.

On Syria, a coalition is being formed, while media reports suggest strike planning is now underway. Much of the media speculation is silly or naive. Putin’s prime agenda is stimulating nationalistic hysteria and a sense of Russia being under siege. Folding on Assad and bailing from Syria would provide a means of achieving exactly what he needs for his domestic agenda, and an opportunity to argue victimization for the next decade, without incurring the considerable recurring costs of propping up a basketcase rump Syria for decades. Any other strategy will cost Russia resources it will be struggling to afford.

Russian Trolls Denied Syrian Gas Attack—Before It Happened – To Inform is to Influence

The conspiracists introduced claims about rebels using chemical weapons just as the Trump administration’s frustration was rising over the Assad regime’s use of chlorine gas. ADAM RAWNSLEY 04.12.18 5:05 AM ET Weeks before the world saw the bodies of men, women, and children dead from an apparent Syrian military chemical attack in Douma, Syria, the Russian military…

Russia blames UK for Syria chemical attack

Russia’s foreign minister claimed on Friday that a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend was staged with the help of an unspecified foreign intelligence agency.

Russia calls chemical attack in Syria a ‘fabrication’ | TheHill

Russian officials are suggesting that an apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria was a “fabrication” staged by an unnamed foreign intelligence agency.

Russia Claims Syria Chemical Attack Was Staged by Britain – NBC4 Washington

The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday accused Britain of staging a fake chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma last weekend, a bold charge that comes amid Moscow’s stern warnings to the West against…

VLAD’S RIDICULOUS | Russia claims Syria chemical attack was staged by BRITAIN and insists it had ‘proof’

RUSSIA has sensationally accused Britain of STAGING the deadly chemical attack in Syria last week.

Russia says Syrian ‘chemical attack’ was staged – BBC News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a reported chemical attack in Syria was staged by foreign agents. The US and France have said they have proof it took place, and, alongside the UK, they are considering launching military retaliation against Syria. Russia, a Syrian ally, has warned the US that air strikes risk a new war. Independent chemical weapons inspectors are en route to the Eastern Ghouta area to look for evidence. They are expected to arrive on Saturday. During a press briefing on Friday, Mr Lavrov said he had “irrefutable evidence” that the attack was staged as part of a “Russophobic campaign” led by one country, which he did not name.

Syria standoff: Russia ridicules Trump’s Twitter diplomacy – CNN

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister ridiculed US President Donald Trump’s Twitter diplomacy on Friday, saying that international relations should not depend on any individual’s frame of mind.

US policy is to ‘unleash terror’ in Syria: Russia UN envoy – Daily Sabah

Russia’s U.N. ambassador accused the U.S. of adopting a categorical policy to unleash terror in Syria, in an emergency U.N. Security Council…

Russia Warns of New Wave of Migrants in Case of Syrian ‘Miscalculation’ | Asharq AL-awsat

Middle-East Arab News and Opinion – Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities

Russia warns U.S. to avoid steps that could destabilize Syria

The U.S. has threatened to respond militarily to the alleged chemical attack that killed at least 40 people, many of them children, in the town of Douma.

Russia Says ‘Immediate Priority Is to Avert the Danger of War’ | World News | US News

US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.

Russia warns the US that Syrian airstrikes could spark war

Moscow on Thursday night warned against any US move that could trigger a conflict between the nuclear-armed rivals.

If Trump hits Russian targets in Syria, war with Putin is inevitable, warns security expert Gabriel Elefteriu

WE need a new global coalition against chemical weapons – and Britain can lead it.

The Latest: Russia Urges Full Access to Evidence in Spy Case | World News | US News

Russia says it won’t accept any conclusions on the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy unless it gets full access to evidence in the case.

Russia vs the West: A War Scenario and a New Logic of Confrontation – Modern Diplomacy [Valdai Reprint]

The aggravation of rivalry between Russia and the West in the past few months is raising the urgent question of a possible further escalation of tensions and its forms and consequences. Political relations between Moscow and Western capitals have gone beyond the critical point.

Russian state TV is telling viewers to stockpile food in preparation for war – VICE News

“Fewer sweets and more water.”

Russia’s Ruble Catches a Break as Crude Surge Offsets Syria Woes – Bloomberg

The ruble bounced back from the lowest level since 2016 and bonds climbed as rising oil prices outweighed U.S. and Russian brinkmanship in Syria.

“Kafka spinning in grave” as Russia tries to justify disinformation | UNIAN

“British authorities are trying to ridicule Russia for spreading 30 versions of what happened [in the Skripal poisoning case]. Yes, there are many explanations for lack of facts and evidence, but in Russia everyone just wants to understand this murky story”. While it must take a good deal of creativity to be able to produce dozens of different disinformation narratives about the Salisbury incident, it would seem almost impossible to provide some justification for the tactics of spreading multiple disinformation narratives.

Pariah Putin | Comment | The Times

Independent monitors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have confirmed British claims that a military-grade nerve agent was used to poison the Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. In doing so, the watchdog has scattered to the wind some two dozen alternative explanations offered by Moscow to obscure a grim truth: that a highly pure toxic chemical from the novichok family, developed in Russia, was used as a weapon against civilians in a British city. If Russia were the responsible power that it claims to be, its authorities would now be trying to establish how and why this poison ended up in Salisbury last month. Instead the Kremlin continues to deny, dissemble and divert. Its foreign ministry spokeswoman…

DIME – Russia is being dramatically pressured via every element of national power – To Inform is to Influence

I just reread my editorial for “Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK / Syrian CW Attack (38)”.  I realized I can boil it down to “DIME – Russia is being dramatically pressured via every element of national power”.  It is so plain and obvious, it screamed at me. The four basic elements…

Beneath All Russia’s Misfortune Lies Ukraine – To Inform is to Influence Op-Ed The recent spike in the US-Russia confrontation once again shows that a compromise fitting both parties’ interests will be unlikely to happen. Recent US sanctions against the Russian oligarchs, as well as Washington’s political decisions across Eurasia, once again reflect the notion that Donald Trump as a sole figure could not have changed…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Trump Wants to Oust Asad and Putin Will Do Anything to Save Him, Mukhin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 12 – In any armed conflict, the actions of the sides reflect the goals of each or even more important the goals of one as perceived by the other. In Syria today, Vladimir Mukhin says, the United States wants to oust Bashar Asad and the Russian Federation will do anything to keep the Syrian leader in office. And because Moscow defines the situation in that way, the Nezavisimaya gazeta commentator says, the Russian government “together with Damascus and Teheran is demonstrating its readiness not only to respond to any strikes against Syria but to save its leader and his entourage from physical destruction” ( To that end, Mukhin says, Moscow has dispatched a unique “living shield” consisting of parliamentarians and oncologists to surround Asad and his closest allies in order to convince the US that any attack on Asad or them directly is likely to result in Russian casualties and a massive Russian response. In addition to its political and diplomatic moves, the commentator continues, “the leadership of the Russian Federation is organizing military measures in order to minimize losses from possible US strikes in Syria,” creating safe havens in and around Russian troop concentrations for Syrians by installing anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems. Moreover, he says, “certain Iranian sources report that the Russian defense ministry has apparently turned to Teheran with a request to place on the territory of this country long-range strategic aviation” including both strategic bombers of various kinds, with cruise missiles, and tankers to refuel them and others. All this activity shows that “Moscow has devoted significant material, political and military efforts to oppose Trump’s plans;” and Mukhin suggests that Washington is now digesting all this and that may be a major reason why no American attack has been launched up to now. “Judging by everything,” Mukhin says, “the US is still conducting only a hybrid war, the main goal of which is to show the greatness of that country and to wear down Russia in a military and economic way. But possible strikes against Syria which fears a major war disturb not only Moscow but the entire world.” And he concludes: “Despite significant financial costs, Russia will not surrender its positions in Syria,” positions that include in the first instance blocking regime change but not necessarily in any other way defending Russian national interests or helping the Russian people to improve their lives.

The Week In Russia: Sanctions, Syria, And Solitude

Russia’s standing on the world stage looked pretty precarious the first week in April, with Moscow facing Western wrath over a nerve-agent poisoning in England as well as the threat of new U.S. san…

I’m a Russian expat living in Britain and I’m sick of being told I’m trashy, evil and corrupt | The Independent

My name is Valerie Stark. But that’s not my real name. In fact, I don’t use the last name that I was given at birth for two reasons. First, it’s hard to spell and pronounce for non-Russian speakers. Second, after a few years of living in UK, I got tired of getting frowned upon or getting that commiserative look.

Letter to the Nato secretary general | Chemical Weapon | International Politics

Sir Mark Sedwill KCMG National Security Adviser Cabinet Office …

Russia tested nerve agent on door handles before Skripal attack, UK dossier claims | UK news | The Guardian

Previously classified intelligence about poisoning of former Russian spy sent to Nato

UK: Email hacks add to evidence of Russian role in Skripal poisoning

National security adviser outlines findings in letter to Nato chief Stoltenberg

Salisbury poisoning: Russia ‘targeted’ Yulia Skripal email – BBC News

UK government’s national security adviser outlines new evidence in letter to Nato’s secretary-general.

UK says Russia monitored daughter of former spy for years – Houston Chronicle

LONDON (AP) — Russian intelligence agencies monitored the emails of former spy Sergei Skripal’s daughter Yulia for at least five years before the two were poisoned, Britain’s national security adviser said in a letter made public Friday. Mark Sedwill made the assertion in a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explaining Britain’s conclusion that the Russian government is to blame for poisoning the Skripals with a military-grade nerve agent on March 4. He said only Russia has the “technical means, operational experience and the motive” for the attack. Moscow has strongly denied responsibility and says Britain is waging a defamation campaign against it.

Russia hacked Yulia Skripal’s emails for five years and tested Novichok on door handles, bombshell intelligence dossier reveals

Russian intelligence agents hacked Yulia Skripal’s emails for at least five years before the Salisbury poisonings, a bombshell Government dossier has revealed.

#Salisbury: Boris Johnson comments on OPCW report : EU Reporter

“This is based on testing in 4 independent, highly reputable laboratories around the world. All returned the same conclusive results. “There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible – only Russia has the means, motive and record. “We invited the OPCW to test these samples to ensure strict adherence to international chemical weapons protocols. We have never doubted the analysis of our scientists at Porton Down. “In the interest of transparency, and because unlike the Russians we have nothing to hide, we have asked the OPCW to publish the executive summary for all to see and to circulate the full report to all state parties of the OPCW, including Russia. “We will now work tirelessly with our partners to help stamp out the grotesque use of weapons of this kind and we have called a session of the OPCW Executive Council next Wednesday to discuss next steps. The Kremlin must give answers. “We must, as a world community, stand up for the rules based order which keeps us all safe. The use of weapons of this kind can never be justified, and must be ended.”

‘No doubt’ Russia responsible for Skripal attack – Johnson

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said there was no doubt Russia was responsible for the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal after a chemical weapons watchdog confirmed Britain’s analysis of the nerve agent used. | UK’s Boris Johnson says only Russia had ‘means and motive’ to carry out nerve agent attack

The chemical watchdog confirmed that Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a “high purity” toxin.

Russia: Vladimir Putin must give answers over Salisbury, demands Britain | Daily Star

BRITAIN has called an emergency UN meeting as the UK demands answers from Vladimir Putin as investigators agreed Russian-made Novichok was used in the chemical attack in Salisbury.

London calls for UN Security Council meeting in Skripal case | UNIAN

London insists on holding a UN Security Council meeting in the light of the report published by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the case of Salisbury poisoning of a former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The meeting is expected to be held next week.

“Novichok” scientist: It was idiocy using it in UK — Politics, Russia — EADaily

Some properties of “Novichok” agent make its application in UK climate senseless, especially on that foggy day of March 4, chemist Vil Mirzayanov, introducing himself as one of “Novichok” scientist, told Kommersant FM. Some properties of “Novichok” agent make its application in UK climate senseless, especially on that foggy day of March 4, chemist Vil Mirzayanov, introducing himself as one of “Novichok” scientist, told Kommersant FM. “‘Novichok’ series have a disadvantage i.e. these agents are not water-resistant. Typically, these are unstable compounds. This agent can work only in dry conditions, when humidity level is extremely low. Meantime, it was used in England on March 4 and it was a foggy day with high level of humidity in the air. Only an idiot could get such an idea – it was a big mistake,” the chemist said. Commenting on resolutions of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Vil Mirzayanov assumed that specialist could receive a good-quality, purified sample for analysis. “Perhaps, they synthesized it in lab, especially for that case, and did not provide an industrial sample. If the raw material was of high purity, there could be no impurities in it,” he said.

GCHQ boss calls out Russia for ‘industrial scale disinformation’ – To Inform is to Influence

Kremlin ‘blurring boundaries between criminal and state activity’ – director By John Leyden12 Apr 2018 at 15:46 GCHQ boss Jeremy Fleming has hailed the success of a cyber-offensive against ISIS last year and warned of the growing threat posed by Russia. During a wide-ranging speech at the CyberUK conference in Manchester on Thursday morning, Fleming said a cyber operation last…

Nerve Agent Used on Ex-Russian Spy a ‘Horror’ Poison |

The nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter in England has been confirmed as novichok, a series of highly-toxic substances developed in Russia and considered among the deadliest chemical weapons ever made.

Russia Poisoned Sergei Skripal? Not All Britons Agree – WSJ

Opposition parties and Russian propaganda have stoked skepticism among some in the U.K. about Theresa May’s explanation that Russia was behind an attempt to kill ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

Jeremy Corbyn declines to say whether Vladimir Putin bears any responsibility for nerve agent attack –

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declined to say whether Vladimir Putin bears any responsibility for the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Hidden hand in spy poisoning? | Pretoria News

Theresa May scored politically from the Russian saga. US security agencies may also have gained from discrediting Moscow

Biggest task force since Iraq on course for Syria | News | The Times

The largest US air and naval strike force since the 2003 Iraq war was heading towards Syria last night as Theresa May won the backing of the cabinet to join in military action.US-led strikes after the suspected chemical weapon attack in Douma, which left as many as 40 people dead, are expected withi

Trump: Decision on Syria strikes coming ‘fairly soon’

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, head to the White House on Thursday afternoon to discuss strike options in Syria with President Trump.

Trump: Decision on Syria will come ‘fairly soon’ – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Trump and his latest early morning tweet.

Trump says he’ll make Syria decisions ‘fairly soon’ | Daily Mail Online

Trump said Americans won’t have to wait long for his decision about responding to a chemical weapons attack on a Syrian town. At close of his business, however, ‘no decision’ had been made. President says he’ll make strategic decision ‘fairly soon’ about a response to Saturday’s chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town near Damascus, Syria. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley tells MSNBC that Americans have enough evidence to be sure it happened in the town of Douma. But Defense Secretary James Mattis said in congressional testimony that the U.S. is still hunting for proof. NBC News says blood and urine samples from there have tested positive for chlorine gas and a nerve agent. Trump had tweeted defensively that he had ‘never said when’ an airstrike on Syria would take place. In the UK prime minister Theresa May. Said attack ‘could be very soon or not so soon at all,’ patted himself on the back for ‘ridding the region of ISIS’. French president Macron says he has ‘proof’ Assad used toxic gas and will respond ‘at a time of our choosing’. Trump escalated Syria rhetoric on Wednesday, telling Russia to ‘get ready’ for missile strikes.

The Latest: Trump Puts off Decision on Syria Strikes | Political News | US News

President Donald Trump has put off a final decision on possible military strikes against Syria.

Trump softens rhetoric on potential Syria strike – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump on Thursday softened his rhetoric about potential airstrikes on Syria, a day after warning Russia that missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart.'”

Don’t panic: US shows no sign of risking World War Three | News | The Times

Russia’s threats over military action in Syria have been loud and various. One was to shoot down any missiles launched at Syrian territory and counterattack the sites or craft from where they were launched. Another warned about the repercussions should Russian personnel or hardware be struck in an American-led assault. There is no sign that the US is willing to get into armed conflict with Russia, even on Syrian soil, a possibility some have warned could trigger World War Three. Syria, however, is taking the threat of US strikes so seriously that it is moving its own hardware closer to Russian assets in the hope of protecting it from American strikes.

Pentagon Urges Greater Caution on Imminent Strike Against Syria – The New York Times

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis demanded evidence of the Syrian government’s role in a suspected chemical attack to justify military action — and mute Russian criticism.

Syria conflict: U.S. concerned about wider war as it weighs strike

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis assured lawmakers that any attack on Syria’s Bashar Assad would not distract from the destruction of the Islamic State.

Threat of U.S.-Russia clash hangs over Syria

The prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to confrontation with Russia hung over the Middle East on Friday but there was no clear sign that a U.S.-led attack was imminent.

Trump and Allies Weigh Risk of Syria Strike – Bloomberg

As U.S. President Donald Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron consider a possible military strike on Syria, the world has been left guessing about when an attack could come and how big it might be.

High Stakes in Syria – WSJ

A token missile attack won’t deter the Assad-Iran-Russia axis.

Trump plans to talk to allies before Syria strike decision | WTOP

President Donald Trump has put off a final decision on possible military strikes against Syria after tweeting earlier that they could happen “very soon or not so soon at all.” The White House said Thursday he would consult further with allies.

President Trump huddles with military on Syria response amid Russia fight

Amid an argument with Russia over the prospect of missile strikes, President Trump and national security aides huddled Wednesday about how to respond to a reported chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Fears of a U.S.-Russia conflict recede as Trump, Moscow and Macron dial back the rhetoric – The Washington Post

U.S.-led strikes against Syria may yet happen, but there are signs of a growing international effort to avert a wider confrontation.

Syria: Trump and May say chemical weapon use ‘must not go unchallenged’ – as it happened | World news | The Guardian

Syria latest: Donald Trump remains vague on possible US response to chemical attack, while Theresa May believed to have laid out Britain’s next steps

May’s Cabinet Says ‘Vital’ to Respond to Syrian Chemical Attack – Bloomberg

U.K. ministers agreed on the need to respond to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria over the weekend, suggesting Britain may participate in international military action against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Theresa May’s Cabinet vows to ‘take action’ over Syrian chemical attack | TheHill

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Cabinet pledged Thursday to “take action” in response to last week’s Syrian chemical attack that left dozens of people dead.

U.S., France and Britain Craft Broad Plans for Strike on Syria – WSJ

Britain, France and the U.S. united around broad plans for a military strike against Syria as they worked to bridge differences over the scope and purpose of a response to a suspected chemical weapons attack.

Who Might Join US-Led Strikes Against Syria?

Washington working on forming international coalition to respond to last week’s suspected chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians

Trump reportedly has 8 targets in mind for his Syria missile strike — and Russia said war could be coming | Business Insider

President Donald Trump has reportedly nailed down eight locations to strike in Syria, including two airbases, a research facility, and a chemical weapons facility. It’s possible the locations lie far from Russian forces, and therefore carry a low risk of escalating tensions with Russia, but Trump’s White House has said it’s not afraid to target Russian assets. Any strike on Syria, Russia’s ally, runs the risk triggering a massive Russian response that could lead to war between the world’s biggest nuclear powers.

Russia war: Donald Trump’s eight targets in Syria to avoid clash with Putin | Daily Star

DONALD Trump’s kill list has been revealed as the US prepares for an all-out attack on Syria to avoid war with Russia.

Trump Reviews Syria Strike Options as May Wins Cabinet Support – Bloomberg

President Donald Trump met with his national security team on Thursday to discuss a U.S. response to an apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet said it is “vital” to respond to the incident.

UN Council To Meet On Possible U.S. Air Strikes In Syria At Russia’s Request

The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting at Russia’s request on the “threat to international peace” from possible air strikes on Syria by the United States and its allies.

Report: Blood Samples Show Nerve Agent Used in Syria Attack

U.S. officials say they have proof of a chemical attack that the Syrian regime has called a hoax.

US found chlorine gas, nerve agent in samples from Syria attack: report | TheHill

Blood and urine samples from the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria have tested positive for chlorine gas and a nerve agent, according to U.S. officials.

Chemical Weapons Team Is On Its Way To Syria, Watchdog Group Says : The Two-Way : NPR

A team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons plans to begin investigating the attack in Douma by Saturday. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the attack “inexcusable.”

Coveney urges dialogue as threat of war in Syria grows | Ireland | The Times

The largest US air and naval strike force since the 2003 Iraq war was heading towards Syria last night as Britain’s prime minister won the backing of her cabinet to join in military action.US-led strikes after the suspected chemical weapon attack in Douma, which left as many as 40 people dead, are

Anger over Trump’s Twitter tip-off to Syria | News | The Times

President Trump’s tweet warning of an imminent missile strike against Syria tipped off Damascus, US sources acknowledged last night.The sources avoided accusing the president of giving the Syrian regime the chance to move its military assets to a safer place. However, they said that after the tweete

The Russians fooled us once, but we don’t have to let them fool us twice (Opinion) – CNN

Brett Bruen writes that, in order to combat the threat of Russian information warfare, we must invest in systems that can act as Kremlin deterrents.

Russia’s S-400: The Ultimate Weapon to Kill U.S. Fighters and Bombers in Syria? | The National Interest Blog

Does Moscow have a way to strike back at Washington?

Syria Conflict: Trump and Putin Are Locked in a Macho Contest – Bloomberg

His administration’s Russia policy hasn’t suddenly turned hostile over Syria: Let’s admit it was hawkish from the start. In remarks for his confirmation hearing, Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, said “soft policy” toward Russia is “now over.” What he means by “now” is the interesting bit. A false narrative emerging in the U.S. holds that Trump has just recently turned tough on Russia. One look at the long chronology of his administration’s hostility toward Putin’s Russia should dispel that. It includes the early appointments of Russia hawks such as United Nations representative Nikki Haley and Central Intelligence Agency director Pompeo; the first ever U.S. missile strike on Putin ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military installation in April 2017; the abrupt closure of three Russian diplomatic facilities in the U.S. in late August (which Russia accurately described as “blatantly hostile”); the decision to send lethal weapons to Ukraine in December; a deadly counterattack on a group of Russian mercenaries in Syria in February. A column Wednesday by The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, who like me has long disagreed with the “Trump is a Russian puppet” narrative, contains a slightly different list of the Trump administration’s anti-Kremlin actions. Trump can blow hot and cold on Putin and Russia in tweets, just as he did in the course of one day on Wednesday, first threatening Russia with “nice and new and ‘smart'” missiles and then saying there’s “no reason” for the U.S.-Russia relationship to be so bad. But Americans should be used to the low price Trump puts on the meaning of words. He, like many habitual social network users, employs language to communicate emotions rather than precise messages.

Pompeo Says He’s Ready To Push Back Against Kremlin

U.S. President Donald Trump’s choice to become his new top diplomat said he is ready to push back against Russia. Speaking at his Senate confirmation hearing on April 12, Mike Pompeo said he would seek to “reset the deterrence relationship” with the Kremlin if confirmed as Secretary of State. Trump chose Pompeo, the current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, after he fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month, saying they disagreed over policies.

CIA Director: ‘Couple Hundred Russians’ Killed In February U.S. Assault In Syria

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has said that a “couple hundred Russians” were killed in eastern Syria during U.S. artillery and air strikes in early February, an attack that remains shrouded in mystery.