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Fri Oct 23, 2020, 02:08 PM

Russia's Clandestine Chemical Weapons Programme and the GRU's Unit 29155



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Bellingcat
@bellingcat
We've published a new, major investigation (along with @the_ins_ru, @derspiegel, and @SvobodaRadio) into the cooperation between the GRU's military unit 29155 and two research centers to develop and deploy chemical weapons -- including Novichok.

Russia’s Clandestine Chemical Weapons Programme and the GRU’s Unit 21955 - bellingcat
On 15 October 2020, the European Union imposed sanctions on six senior Russian officials and a leading Russian research institute over the alleged use of a nerve agent from the Novichok family in the...
bellingcat.com


https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2020/10/23/russias-clandestine-chemical-weapons-programme-and-the-grus-unit-21955/

On October 15, 2020, the European Union imposed sanctions on six senior Russian officials and a leading Russian research institute over the alleged use of a nerve agent from the Novichok family in the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Russia dismissed as baseless the EU’s allegations that it had not complied with its obligations, under the convention it ratified in 1997, to discontinue its chemical weapons program. Russian officials said the country had nothing to do with Navalny’s poisoning and implied that if any party had used nerve agents on him, it would have been Western secret services. Vladimir Putin, who in 2017 had personally watched over the destruction of the last remaining Russian chemical weapons stash, ridiculed the findings of four separate laboratories, confirmed by the OPCW, that a Novichok-type organoposphate poison was identified in Alexey Navalny’s blood.

Two years earlier, in 2018, Russia had dismissed as unfounded allegations that its military intelligence had used Novichok to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Similarly, Russia had then stated that it had no ongoing chemical weapons program and had destroyed all of its prior arsenals; while alluding that UK agencies may have used their own stash of Novichok to poison the Skripals in a false-flag operation.

A year-long investigation by Bellingcat and its investigative partners The Insider and Der Spiegel, with contributing investigations from RFE/RL, has discovered evidence that Russia continued its Novichok development program long beyond the officially announced closure date. Data shows that military scientists, who were involved with the original chemical weapons program while it was still run by the Ministry of Defense, were dispersed into several research entities which continued collaborating among one another in a clandestine, distributed R&D program. While some of these institutes were integrated with the Ministry of Defense – but camouflaged their work as research into antidotes to organophosphate poisoning – other researchers moved to civilian research institutes but may have continued working, under cover of civilian research, on the continued program.

Our investigative team believes the St. Petersburg State Institute for Experimental Military Medicine of the Ministry of Defense (“GNII VM”), likely with the assistance of researchers from the Scientific Center Signal (“SC Signal”), has since 2010 taken the lead role in the continued R&D and weaponization of the Soviet-era Novichok program.

Crucially for our conclusions, we have identified evidence showing close coordination between these two institutes and a secretive sub-unit of Military Unit 29155 of Russia’s military intelligence, the GRU. This unit has previously been linked to the poisoning attempts on Emilian Gebrev in Bulgaria in 2015 as well as Sergey and Yula Skripal in the United Kingdom in 2018. Telecoms data we obtained shows that the St. Petersurg-based institute communicated intensively with members of the assassination team during the planning stage of the Skripal mission, while also communicating – at highly correlated moments – with scientists from SC Signal.

*snip*



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Reply Russia's Clandestine Chemical Weapons Programme and the GRU's Unit 29155 (Original post)
Nevilledog Oct 2020 OP
RainCaster Oct 2020 #1
Nevilledog Oct 2020 #2

Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri Oct 23, 2020, 02:37 PM

1. Thanks for sharing, this was quite interesting.

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Response to RainCaster (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 23, 2020, 02:38 PM

2. You're quite welcome.

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