Poisoning of Sergei Skripal

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Hazmat team in Salisbury near the bench where Sergei Skripal was found unconscious.
Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia photographed two years ago in the Zizzi restaurant by Yulia's brother Alexandr
Sergei Skripal was recruited by Pablo Miller to spy for the UK. Skripal lived next to Miller in Salisbury. Miller worked for Christopher Steele's company Orbis, in addition to doing part-time work for the UK Foreign Office. It is speculated that Miller was involved in creating the Steele dossier on Trump. If so, it is possible that Skripal was one of the sources.
@FT is trying to convince British public that MI6 agent Skripal actively worked for the Russian intelligence, that’s why he was dangerous for Russia. Little doubt the investigation will be classified.
-- Russian Embassy, UK
How is the poisoning of Sergei Skripal connected to Russiagate?
For further details and discussion, see the talk page. (To see what is hot, see recent changes)

Who is Sergei Skripal?

According to [Vladimir] Timoshkov, his friend [interviewed by the BBC in Russia], who he had known since school, did not see himself as a traitor as he had sworn an oath to the Soviet Union. "Many people shunned him. His classmates felt he had betrayed the Motherland," he said. "In 2012 he called me. We spoke for about half an hour. He called me from London. He denied he was a traitor... (he told me) he wrote to Vladimir Putin asking to be fully pardoned and to be allowed to visit Russia. His mother, brother and other relatives were (in Russia)."

Connection to Pablo Miller and Christopher Steele

Connection to Malta and Cambridge Analytica

See also Cambridge Analytica

Dealings after the swap

Respekt: Agent Skripal byl v Praze (in 2012) -Respekt (Czech), translation, 12/13 May, 2018

'Regularly meeting officers at the Russian Embassy'?

  • Vitaly Morozov, who knows Skripal', tells that Skripal' regularly met with officers at the Russian Embassy, finds it very strange; video -MSN, March 8, 2018; text-Mirror, March 7, 2018
    “If you have a military intelligence officer working in the Russian diplomatic service, living after retirement in the UK, working in cyber-security and every month going to the embassy to meet military intelligence officers - for me being political refugee, it is either a certain danger or frankly speaking, I thought that this contact might not be very good for me because it can bring some questions from British officials.” (Noted: detail on meeting officers is unusual and outside a normal conversation; Morozov does not explain how this detail came about; if Skripal' volunteered to provide this detail, it would be quite natural to wish to stay away from such person).
  • Fellow Russian exile claims poisoned spy Sergei Skripal was NOT retired and was still working with military intelligence - Mirror, March 7, 2018
    The Russian Embassy told the programme: “We are not aware of any contacts between Sergei Skripal and any of the Embassy staff. "As we have previously said, Mr Skripal was not on the consular register.” (Noted: whether or not he was on register is irrelevant).
  • Spook Soup - Ronald Thomas West, March 10, 2018
  • Respekt: Skripal was secretly in Prague in 2012 Prague Monitor May 14, 2018

Yulia Skripal

See also Yulia Skripal audio
''I will say that nerve agents work by attaching themselves to a particular enzyme in the body which then stops the nerves from working properly. This results in symptoms such as sickness, hallucinations and confusion. -- Christine Blanschard
  • Statement issued on behalf of Yulia Skripal by the Scotland Yard, April 11, 2018
    Russian consulate in London expressed doubt that the statement is genuinely by Yulia. 'The text is composed to support the British position', and 'to exclude contacts with the outside world'. 'None of quoted in press friends and family confirms contacts with Yulia' (Rus.), (Eng). (Noted: in Russia, important statements by non-officials often appear as videos, in part to be sure that a person quoted indeed said it and is not misquoted or altogether misrepresented).
  • EXC: Yulia Skripal fears she was betrayed by fiancé in poison attack - Daily Mail, April 11, 2018
    Noted: the claim is unsourced. There have been no confirmed contacts of Yulia with the outside world; with the phone call with Victoria Skripal the closest to the confirmed category. But contact with Victoria was not continued.
  • Yulia Skripal Is Plainly Under Duress - Craig Murray, April 11, 2018
    The most probable explanation is that Yulia persuaded somebody else in the hospital to lend her a phone, without British officials realising. That would explain why the first instinct of the British state and its lackey media was to doubt the authenticity of the call. It would explain why she was able to contradict the official narrative on their health, and why she couldn’t get a return call.
Talking from an undisclosed location in the capital, the Russian appeared to have a scar on her neck, consistent with that of a patient who has had to have a tracheostomy.
  • Exclusive - Yulia Skripal: Attempted assassination turned my world upside down -Reuters, 23, May, 2018, with video and photos.
    Skripal spoke in Russian and supplied a statement that she said she had written herself in both Russian and English. She signed both documents after making her statement. She declined to answer questions after speaking to camera.
    Noted: the text and oral statement are very close. When making her statement, there is an impression that it was memorialized. Lots of up and down eye movement. Also noted: no blame for the attack assigned; no indication given of having memory of the attack itself; treatment is described invasive and painful, followed by thanks to the hospital staff; desire to return to Russia stated, followed by rejection of consular assistance, at this time. Physical: scar; hair colored; makeup. --Resup (talk) 18:04, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
    Viktoria Skripal, Russian consulate reaction suggests that the text was first written in English, memorialized. It is very clear that the text is Western, English in style and presentation, but I am not entirely clear in which order things originated. Noted: Russian text is written faster (less calligraphic), and has the following alterations: I want to help (ie to the father; literally identical to English) is changed to intend to (be) help(ing) (намерена помогать); spoken presentation has 'I want to help' version; after his discharge from the hospital till his full recovery (same as spoken here). Some vocabulary are English calques, 'I want to return to my country ', 'please respect our privacy' , all that thanking-and-striking stuff, 'something I have done regularly in the past' follows info on arrival, etc; but it is unclear how much it deviates in substances from what she was up to say --Resup (talk) 01:18, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Юлия Скрипаль: я надеюсь однажды вернуться в Россию -BBC Russian service, 23 May 2018
  • [1] Afshin Rattansi Twitter
    Skripal statement delivered in an unknown location and only to the Reuters Agency run by https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en/about-us/board-of-directors.html … indirectly owned by The Woodbridge Company of Ontario.
  • Эксклюзив «КП»: Виктория Скрипаль рассказала, что в видеообращении сестра произносила не свой текст -Komsomolskaya Pravda, 24 May, 2018
    Victoria Skripal believes that Yulia has read the text during her spoken presentation, based on lots of up and down eye movements, 'a bit low for Yulia' speed, in-one-go uninterrupted delivery, lack of some typical of her 'parasite words'

Stepan Vikeev

  • Yulia Skripal's mystery partner 'goes into hiding' along with his mother - Daily Mail, April 21, 2018
    (See comment to earlier similar Daily Mail article, April 11, 2018, above). Also, in the Scotland Yard statement, she is quoted saying I have access to friends and family; what's 'access'? 'Access' is not the same as contact. If she does have any actual contacts, why not to say so, explicitly and with details?
  • Stepan Vikeev is a Ph.D in economics, + part-time poet and video gamer. His mother is with a corporate security research and industrial organization 'Institute for modern problems in security' founded by 'Norilsk mining company named after Zevyagin'. Corporate security in general is the lowest in hierarchy and far away from state security or any special tools or substances. Stepan is said to be in the same structure, likely in his economics role. There is a quite notable flow of money through the company, around 2.8 mln USD in receivables yearly, with a comparable amount in expenses. But no evidence of villain use of those moneys, even less of such an exotic villainy. Disliking is one thing, but killing in a manner causing major international crisis is in quite another ballpark.
  • [2] Mr Vikeev has not answered Ms Skripal’s calls since she was discharged from hospital and deleted all his social media accounts after the attack, for which the government has blamed Russia….. Alexander Mercouris The Duran April 24, 2018


Boris Karpichkov

  • KGB KILLER Cops identify ‘former KGB assassin ('Gordon'), 54, trained in martial arts and with law degree as prime suspect in Salisbury poisonings’ -The Sun, 21/22 April, 2018
  • The most wanted criminal of Latvia - counterintelligence Boris Karpichkov -kriminal.lv;, 2.8.2010
    By the way, just the other day Karpichkov through the newspaper The Daily Mail accused the special services of the United Kingdom in the death of military expert David Kelly. For reference: David Kelly was engaged in exposing falsifications in the reports of the British government on the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In July 2003, he was found dead in a forest in Oxfordshire. The investigation concluded that death occurred as a result of suicide. However, Karpichkov is sure that they have got rid of the expert scientist for "reckless behavior." As a source of information about Kelly's murder, the ex-counter-intelligence called his former boss Peter Everett, who led the company Group Global Intelligence Services. In this firm worked former intelligence officers MI-5, who performed detective work on orders of private firms. Everett confirmed that he had met Karpichkov and talked to him about Kelly's death. But he categorically denies the fact that he knew anything about this crime. Currently, the Attorney General of Great Britain is studying the materials sent to him by Karpichkov. Most likely, Karpichkov hopes that with the help of this statement, made on July 25, he will not again be extradited to Latvia.
  • Mirror got 'Gordons censored portrait

The attack

Witness Freya Church first saw the two people on the bench
CCTV video shows two people walking toward the bench where the Skripals were later found. Who are they? The Skripals or Pablo Miller and an unknown blonde?
Locations where the Skripals were allegedly seen. The sequence of events is still unknown.
Doctors see no sign of a nerve agent being used.


See some significant early local reports and statements on the emergency services reponse
The body of a young man was found in Salisbury today. The man's body was found hanging from a tree on a footpath near the river Avon between Devizes Road and Stratford-sub-Castle. [...] A police spokesman said: [...] "There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances in relation to the death. [...] This is not linked to the on-going incident in Salisbury city centre."


Suspicious people seen

  • Suspicious masked woman spotted - The Daily Mail, March 12, 2018
    The dark-haired woman was spotted wearing a black face mask as she left a Pret a Manger, a three-minute walk from where Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were later found convulsing and vomiting. At the time the pair were thought to be in the Mill pub a few yards away... Mr Francis, 50, said: ‘We were in the town centre in Pret a Manger. We were in there at 3.35pm and I was sitting by the door and this lady walked out at 3.40pm.
    ‘She was wearing a Sars mask, a black Sars mask tucked around her chin and a bag in her hand...‘She had dark hair, a single woman, but I didn’t think she was obviously Asian.’
    On Sunday it was reported that a witness told police that an hour before the couple collapsed he saw a ‘man in a mask’ with his hood up acting suspiciously nearby. The witness said: ‘He looked threatening and aggressive and he was walking towards us with purpose. He gave me a stern look as he passed us by about 100 yards from the bench where they found the Russians.’

What is the poison?

The short public version of the OPCW report did not name the chemical structure or name of the "nerve agent" found in the environmental samples. This information was only disclosed to "State Parties".

The OPCW report does say it agrees with Porton Down’s findings on the substance – but Porton Down said it was a Novichok or something else like one Skawkbox 12th April, 2018

Source of poison?

Fast or slow acting?


Moved to Novichok


Early reports that made it to CNN spoke of the opioid Fentanyl as a cause of poisoning. These reports go back to the Salisbury Journal which has reported at least four times that they were told by "emergency services" that this drug could have been involved. A month earlier, the Journal reported about a prominent case of someone selling the substance on the "darkweb" and was send to prison for eight years over it.

A PARAMEDIC who was among the first to respond to Sergei Skripal and his daughter told the Prime Minister they had initially treated the pair for drugs. ... The man, named Ian, said he had been in the first ambulance service response car on the scene. Mrs May asked him: "At that stage you could only treat for what you can see?" Salisbury MP John Glen interjected to say he had heard initial reports the incident was drug-related. To which the paramedic replied: "Absolutely that's what I was treating for, that's what we treated them for initially."
(Noted: paramedic will almost certainly have medical gloves, and likely no mask or respirator. Policeman likely will not have gloves and certainly no mask or respirator. If aerosol was sprayed, paramedic will be poisoned. So looks like skin or food method of delivery --Resup (talk) 17:30, 24 March 2018 (UTC))
Salisbury District Hospital declared a “major incident” on Monday 5 March, after two patients were exposed to an opioid. The fire service was called to decontaminate the hospital’s Accident & Emergency unit, as paramedics treated the casualties. Emergency personnel arrived to the scene, wearing full-body hazardous materials protective and an incident response unit was on site.It followed an incident hours earlier in which a man and a woman were exposed to the drug Fentanyl in the city centre. The opioid is 10,000 times stronger than heroin., Clinical Services Journal 5th March
By now there is a note under the article saying that it was changed on April 26 "to remove suggestion (which was widely speculated and reported at the time of writing) that the substance found was fentanyl." There is a MoA article which narrows the time when this note was added. IIRC it was shortly after the change and before 3 May. --CE (talk) 15:25, 6 May 2018 (UTC)
From the MoA article: All reference to Fentanyl as cause of the Skripal illness in a March 5 article has been removed between April 26 and April 27.


Organophosphate pesticide

See also Talk:Poisoning of Sergei Skripal#Scheduled chemicals

Botulinum toxin

Did this risotto pesce at the Zizzi restaurant cause the poisoning?
See Botulism and Botulinum toxin on Wikipedia.
  • How the 'poisoned' spy plot unfolded in Salisbury - Daily Mail, March 6, 2018
    They ordered from the menu, choosing the 600 calorie risotto pesce with king prawns, mussels and squid rings in a tomato, chilli and white wine sauce. But within minutes Mr Skripal had become angry, a witness said.
    • Symptoms usually appear 12–36 hours after eating, but can also appear within 2 hours to 10 days.
    • Botulinum inhibits the release within the nervous system of acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter.
    • While nerve agents inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine (ACh) in the synapse. Muscles are prevented from relaxing and are effectively paralyzed. This includes the heart and the muscles used for breathing. Because of this, the first symptoms usually appear within seconds of exposure.
  • Novichok: Russia's Antidote to Seafood Poisoning - CanSpeccy, April 12, 2018


See Tetrodotoxin on Wikipedia

Israeli mystery opioid


See also OPCW discussion on talk page.
I will now be quoting what they sent to the OPCW in their report. You understand that this is a translation from a foreign language but I will read it in Russian, quote: “Following our analysis, the samples indicate traces of the toxic chemical BZ and its precursor which are second category chemical weapons. BZ is a nerve toxic agent, which temporarily disables a person. The psycho toxic effect is achieved within 30 to 60 minutes after its use and lasts for up to four days. This composition was in operational service in the armies of the US, the UK and other NATO countries. The Soviet Union and Russia neither designed nor stored such chemical agents. Also, the samples indicate the presence of type A-234 nerve agent in its virgin state and also products of its degradation.” End of quote. According to the specialists’ estimates, the significant concentration of A-234 discovered would have inevitably been lethal, and taking into account its high volatility, the fact that the specialists in the city of Spiez found it in its virgin state and also with high purity and in high concentration, appears to be utterly suspicious, because the period which elapsed between the poisoning and sampling was fairly long – I think, over two weeks.
Taking into account that Yulia Skripal and the policeman have already been released from hospital, whereas Sergei Skripal, as the British claim without letting us see either Yulia or Sergei, is still recovering, the clinical pattern corresponds more to the use of a BZ agent. Nothing is said whatsoever about a BZ agent in the final report that the OPCW experts presented to its Executive Council. In this connection we address the OPCW a question about why the information, that I have just read out loud and which reflects the findings of the specialists from the city of Spiez, was withheld altogether in the final document. If the OPCW would reject and deny the very fact that the Spiez laboratory was engaged, it will be very interesting to listen to their explanations.
April 18


See also discussion comments

Location of attack?

Telegraph thinks the novichok may have come in a suitcase from Moscow
ABC News suspects the poison may have been placed in the vents of Scripal's BMW
Daily Star says maybe the poison was released from a mini drone

No one seems to know where, when and how the alleged attack happened. Teresa May claims that the agent has been identified, but the investigators still do not have a sample of the agent. If they had identified the location of the attack or the container used to transport the agent, they would most likely have a sample.

The officer has left hospital on March 22 and went home, according to the Wiltshire police who read a lengthy statement allegedly by Nick Bailey in which he gives no details whatsoever about what happened and asks the press to respect his and his family's privacy. Already while recovering in hospital he has done his best to respond to as many as possible of the 300 supporting messages he got from the general public, the statement reads.

Tracking movement

  • CCTV shows Sergei Skripal drive through Salisbury before poisoning - Daily Mail, March 15, 2018 (timed map inside).
    Police know Sergei Skripal parked on the first floor of Sainsbury's car park at 1.40pm. He and his daughter Yulia visited The Mill pub before arriving at Zizzi at 2.20pm, dining, and leaving at 3.35pm. They were potentially picked up on CCTV on Market Walk at 3.47pm before being found slumped on a bench at 4.15pm. The new footage shows Skripal driving past the Devizes Inn, which is equidistant from Sainsbury's to his home in Christie Miller Road, though it is not known where he had driven from nor when he was poisoned



Police sources say both Skripals turned off their cell phones between their visit to the cemetery at 9:15 and 13:30 in town centre, two hours before they were found on the bench. Police suspects a clandestine meeting. Father Skripal has travelled to Dubai and Africa for "business meetings" while living in the UK, "raising the prospect he was selling information to criminals and foreign powers."

Container for poison?

So far the investigators have no idea how the alleged poison was transported to the supposed site of the poisoning. Speculations range from a suitcase from Moscow to a mini drone.

  • Vil Mirzayanov: "Novichok" can be synthesized or stolen, but few can apply it-BBC Russian, March 16, 2018
    BBC: Есть мужчина и женщина, против которых был направлен точечный маленький снаряд. Как и в чем в этом случае могут содержаться вещества, для того чтобы "Новичок" сработал? Это маленький патрон?
    VM, robot-translated: This is a small cartridge that is inserted - this I already fantasize - into a Nagant, a revolver, it has a device that breaks [the components], and there is a reaction between them. And then it shoots out, as it were, a diluent in the form of gasoline or carbon dioxide, usually from a spray, [in the form of] a spray. On such a principle such a weapon could be made, very simply ... Special precautions are not required, because hermetically enclosed substances, say, in an ampoule, are not dangerous.... You see, the mechanism in this shot device, it is available and from the spring can break both vials, both cartridges. The reaction goes on in seconds. And then it shoots.
    (A spray or dual spray gun? Apparent point is not murder, rather some harm + tainting with the agent. --Resup (talk) 06:12, 19 March 2018 (UTC)).

Door knob?


  • Russian Embassy response We reiterate our demand to the British Government to ensure compliance with their international legal obligations and the universal rules of international relations, and to urgently provide the Russian side and the public with meaningful proof that Sergei and Yulia Skripal are not forcibly isolated.
  • The probe into the Salisbury spy poisoning is now one of the biggest counter-terrorism investigations ever launched in Britain. May 8 Mirror
  • Russian Embassy Response May 8, 2018 According to a Downing Street spokesman, more than 400 police officers including 250 counter-terrorism specialists have been involved in the inquiry, more than 5000 hours of CCTV and more than 1350 pieces of evidence have been collected, and around 500 witnesses have been identified.These impressive figures should not mislead. What they actually mean is that despite huge efforts the police have been unable to support the official political version of the incident with facts and proof. The immense work of the police turns out to be meaningless when they are expected not to establish the truth, but to follow the artificial script written by the Conservative government days after the attack.


On March 23 a judgement at the high court ruled that the OPCW is allowed to take blood samples of the ("heavily sedated, unable to communicate") Skripals. The judgement contains the first known direct statement of a(n unnamed) Porton Down analyst:

Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.

In the ruling it says

The application came before me on 20 March 2018. It was made on an urgent basis. The OPCW wished to collect samples in the near future.

On March 19 the OPCW had been in Salisbury "to take a nerve agent sample" (local paper quoting Boris Johnson).

  • April 4 Update (ACLOS copy): OPCW experts visited the locations where two of the victims were reportedly exposed to a toxic chemical and collected several environmental samples. The team also took biomedical samples from these two victims, as well as from a third individual, a police officer reportedly exposed to a toxic chemical.
  • On April 12th the OPCW released a press statement and a summary report of their findings.
    They say that they "confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people." The identity itself is only mentioned in the classified full report given to the UK and other State parties.
  • On 18th April OPCW denied BZ report (see also talk page). At the meeting, Russia's representative Alexandr Shulgin made a statement accusing the UK of being engaged in constant lying about the case and goes into a detailed refutation of eight British "lies".

Ahmet Uzumcu

DEFRA work on decontaminating hotspots

  • Novichok nerve agent use in Salisbury: UK government response
  • Clean-up work underway in Salisbury in next phase of recovery - Gov.UK, April 17, 2018
    Work to clean each site will involve a process of testing, removal of items which may have been contaminated, chemical cleaning and retesting. Sites will not be released back into use until test results and the work undertaken has been reviewed and approved by the government’s decontamination science assurance group.
    The work, which is expected to take a number of months, is being planned and overseen by Defra based on expert advice from Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Public Health England, Department for Health and Social Care, Home Office, and Ministry of Defence (MOD). The clean-up operation will be carried out in partnership with Wiltshire Council with support from the MOD, who are providing specialist teams to carry out work on the sites. Around 190 specialist military personnel from the Army and RAF will support the operation.
  • Russian Embassy Response
We have carefully studied the DEFRA statement saying that decontamination of the nine allegedly contaminated sites in Salisbury has begun. We could not help but notice that the list of such places had considerably expanded. In addition to the previously mentioned "Zizzi" restaurant, the "Mill" pub, the bench where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious and the house of Sergei Skripal now ambulance stations and the house of Sgt Nick Bailey are among them
  • Defra's chief scientific adviser Mr Boyd said: "We have to make an assumption that in certain circumstances there will be relatively high concentrations, probably in very, very specific locations, which could be at levels that could be toxic to individuals." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43833582
  • Salisbury's Bourne Hill offices (the new extension) home to Wiltshire Council services, and the police station, will close to staff and public from Friday 20 April for up to eight weeks as part of the decontamination plans announced yesterday.The decontamination work will focus on two locations in Bourne Hill which were sealed off following the incident on 4 March. These locations; the evidence store and two lockers are potentially contaminated and will require testing and the removal of items and cleaning. Update 20th April on Salisbury Recovery - Withsire Council
Decontamination started at the site on April 24, when the site was released by counter-terror police conducting an investigation into the nerve agent attack on Russian former-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.Chair of the recovery group Alastair Cunningham said the clean-up process would involve testing the sites for traces of the nerve agent Novichok, and caustic chemical cleaning, before re-testing to determine sites are safe. Salisbury Journal 21 May, 2018

Porton Down

See also Porton Down investigates Syria
"We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to." Sputnik 03 April, 2018

Exercise Toxic Dagger

Putin did it!

The UK Foreign Office blames Russia

... not

Israeli response

Czech Novichok production

  • Czech Military Research Institute director fired over Novichok scandal Dilyana Gaytandzhieva May 15, 2018 In March when Moscow said the Novichok nerve agent allegedly used against the Skripals may have originated in the Czech Republic , Safar confirmed that poisonous substances were produced in the Czech Republic solely for laboratory purposes to test their properties and in a very small amount of some grams only.

Russia's response

  • Update 3 May 2018 We also get the impression that the British government is deliberately destroying the evidence, classifying all remaining materials and making independent investigation impossible. Sergei Skripal’s pets were incinerated without having been tested for exposure to nerve agents. Then a decontamination of the area was announced, which reportedly included destruction of potentially contaminated objects along with Sergei Skripal’s house, the “Mill” pub and the “Zizzi” restaurant.

US response

D Notices

Attack Russia now!

Theresa May accuses Russia
The Anglo-Russian war of 2018

Syria connection

Charles Shoebridge believes that British MI6 knew of the false-flag Douma gas attack before it happened
Donbass did Skripal?
See also U.S. missile strike on Syria (2018)‎


Julian Röpke believes not

WGSPM: prior briefing notes: http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/doubts-about-novichoks http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/update-to-briefing-note-doubts-about-novichoks