The New Yorker:
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an intergovernmental authority, has confirmed that the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were hospitalized in England last month, were poisoned with Novichok, a Russian-made nerve agent. What’s more, the form of the gas was pure enough to suggest that it was deployed by a state actor. “They practically wrote that it was Russia,” an anchor on a Russian state-television news show concluded. “Though, of course, it’s not so.”
The official Russian line on the poisonings is that they were set up—presumably by the British government—in order to frame Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a series of denials and counter-accusations, and, on Monday, the foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, addressing Russian diplomats who have been expelled by different Western countries, called the entire affair an “unprecedented provocation.” The Russian media, for their part, have aired endless, daily reports on the Skripals, methodically casting doubt on every aspect of the story. Why are the Skripals recovering? journalists ask, implying that if the father and daughter had really been poisoned by Russian-made nerve gas, they would be good and dead. Why do their voices sound so strong? Why did they turn off location services on their cell phones on the day of the poisoning? Why hasn’t Yulia returned to Russia?
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