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Since fingers pointed toward Russia after an attack against a former double agent in Britain, dozens of alternative theories have been proposed by figures linked to the Kremlin. Experts told WikiTribune the allegations fit an established pattern of Russian disinformation campaigns that should be met with careful and transparent use of facts.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal were attacked in the English city of Salisbury on March 4, perhaps because Yulia was engaged and the mother of her future husband disapproved of the match, reports Moscow newspaper MK.ru.
Alternatively, the attack was ordered by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, on the request of her friend Gina Haspel, the proposed CIA Director, according to TV Zvedza, a network run by Russia’s Ministry of Defence.
In fact, the UK government might have ordered the attack to distract the public from how poorly they are doing in their negotiations with the EU on Brexit, suggested Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. His spokesperson also suggested Britain is trying to isolate Russia so it cannot host the World Cup.
EUvsDisinfo, a European Union-backed website, has tracked at least 25 alternative theories propagated by pro-Kremlin officials and media over the use of a nerve agent against former double agent Skripal and his daughter.
The UK government was quick to say they had concluded the attack was either ordered by the Russian government or the Kremlin was otherwise responsible. Russia has consistently denied involvement as the incident escalated into a diplomatic crisis, with 24 countries, plus the UK, expelling Russian diplomats.
Russia has consistently said the UK’s allegations are unfounded, and demanded access to the investigation.
Stick to the facts
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been criticized by opponents who say he misled the public when telling German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that Porton Down chemical weapons experts had told him the nerve agent definitely came from Russia.
The head of the government laboratory told Sky News that the nerve agent could not be directly traced back to Russia, and the organization tweeted that establishing the source of the nerve agent is not its responsibility.
Russia is expected to try to discredit the UK’s allegations at a UN Security Council meeting it called to discuss the diplomatic crisis, to be held on April 5.
Ben Nimmo, an expert in information and disinformation at Washington D.C.-based think tank Atlantic Council, told WikiTribune the
Boris – Nimmo
Fits a pattern – rferl, nimmo pudd
Officials and state-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik