Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the ties between “Bellingcat” and secret services

Question: Russian officials claim that “Bellingcat” is connected to intelligence agencies of the Western countries, but do not present any evidence of such ties. Doesn’t such approach contradict Russia’s position on the Salisbury incident, the MH-17 catastrophe and other notable cases, where the Russian government is continuously demanding to publish proofs of accusations?

Answer: There is no contradiction. The fact that “Bellingcat” is affiliated to the intelligence services is obvious considering the whole range of relevant circumstances: date of its foundation (several days prior to the MH-17 catastrophe), nature of published information (which combines signs of intelligence data and highly professional fakes), its orientation (always anti-Russian), timeline of publications (each time at the best moment from the point of view of interests of NATO countries), biography of its leader (Elliot Higgins suddenly turned from a PC gamer into an “icon of independent journalism), non-transparency of its internal structure and financing. If “Bellingcat” can provide any other plausible explanation for such combination of facts, it should be presented to the public.

The accusations made by the British authorities regarding Russia’s responsibility for the Salisbury incident are also built on logic. The difference is that this “logic” is based solely on fake premises: that the nerve agent could have been produced only in Russia, that Russia has a law encouraging murders of “dissidents”, that the President of Russia made threats to traitors, etc. The fallacy of these assumptions is exactly the reason why hard evidence must be provided.

Meanwhile, neither Russia, nor UK’s allies, nor the public have been presented concrete facts on most important aspects of the investigation. Where were the Skripals after they had left home on 4 March in the morning and before they were found unconscious on a bench in the afternoon? Why were their mobile telephones switched off? Was a CCTV camera installed on Mr Skripal’s house and where are the relevant records? How did Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov get UK visas? Is there any evidence of their involvement in what happened except the mere fact of visiting Salisbury on 3 and 4 of March? Why has Russia been denied nerve agent samples? What was the quantity and purity of the nerve agent dose applied to Mr Skripal’s doorknob and why did nobody except the Skripals and Mr Bailey suffer? What was the precise clinical picture and exactly what treatment were they receiving? Where are the Skripals now? What is their condition? Are they free in their movements and communications? Finally, what is the reason for the British media lacking any interest to establish these details, which are carefully kept secret?

The “Bellingcat” investigators might make proof of their impartiality and independence by seeking answers to these questions.