M.N.: It does not make any sense to stonewall and to obfuscate. It makes all the sense to work together. – 4:04 AM 10/1/2018

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M.N.: There is some confusion and contradiction in the news reports: the earlier reports claimed or implied that the two Russians arrested in the Netherlands for hacking are Boshirov and Petrov, this report: “Two more Russians reportedly arrested for plotting a cyber hack connected to poisoning“, implies that these are different persons. 

Where is the truth? 

My respectful recommendation to Mr. Putin and the Russian Leaders is: 

Do not fight these accusations (this whole incident and others) by claiming that it is a slander, we do not know yet where truth is. 

Say this:  

“The attacks on the Western Democracies and their citizens is the same as the attack on us and  our citizens, and we will do everything to help to solve these crimes if any were committed, and to bring the suspects to justice.” 

Appoint the best detective, heading the best investigative team in the country (I am sure that there are some very good criminal detectives in Russia) to conduct this investigation on the Russian side with the pledge of the complete, full, in good faith cooperation with the British team. Let them work together and consult each other freely during this and the other, similar investigations. 

It does not make any sense to stonewall and to obfuscate. It makes all the sense to work together. Generally, the hostile attitudes stemming from the insecurity have to stop. 

These latest shows are complex but at the same time they are simple; they all seem to be from the same opera and from the same hypothetical source which I call the New Abwehr. This hypothesis has to be taken very seriously, the Russian people are very well familiar with these dangers. And now, just like then, you need the good allies. The same good old Allies. 

And the New Abwehr does everything in its power, just like before, to break this Alliance. 

Michael Novakhov 

10.1.18

__________________________________

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Two more Russians reportedly arrested for plotting a cyber hack connected to poisoning
Zakharova Slams Bellingcat Report Alleging Salisbury Suspects Had no ID Records
The “Sandworm Hacking Group” is the hypothetical connnection between the “PETRONAS” (Petrov Boshirov PERSONAS)  – the Salisbury Poisoning, and the Blackberry – Abedin’s device – Clinton’s emails – Anthony Weiner sexting affair – Democratic Party hack – US Elections 2016 Interference | FBI News Review
U.K. investigation says Novichok poisoning suspects detained and released by Dutch this year
Salisbury Novichok suspects ‘were detained in Netherlands earlier this year’
US disrupts Russian botnet of 500,000 hacked routers
sandworm hacking group – Google Search
boshirov petrov hacking – Google Search
Passport Similarities Could Be Exposing Russian Spies In Europe
boshirov and petrov – Google Search
germany ukraine relations – Google Search
germany ukraine relations – Google Search
germany ukraine relations – Google Search
Are Germany and Russia friends?
germany ukraine relations – Google Search
Four MORE Russian suspects yet to be named in Salisbury Novichok probe
is bellingcat a german front? – Google Search
is bellingcat a german front? – Google Search
is bellingcat a german front? – Google Search
Mr. Grozev, why don’t you publish the “scientific-like” report? – 1:58 PM 9/30/2018 | FBI News Review
Who is Christo Grozev of Bellingcat? – Google Search
Who is Christo Grozev of Bellingcat? – Google Search
How an investigative team ID’d Skripal poisoning suspect as a Russian colonel
11:49 AM 9/30/2018 – “PETRONAS……. Blackberry…” | Let Me Zink | “Pirelli”: Flammable… | Si Senor… But makes sense and is quite manageable. | Global Security News
putin and hamilton – Google Search
Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Two more Russians reportedly arrested for plotting a cyber hack connected to poisoning
 

mikenova shared this story from New Zealand Herald – Top Stories.

A terrifying new twist has emerged in the Novichok poisonings in the UK, in which two Russian men allegedly attempted to murder a former KGB spy and his daughter with a deadly nerve agent, earlier this year.

The two Russian men, recently identified as Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, had been in the cathedral city of Salisbury in March, allegedly to visit a famous clock, when the attacks occurred, leaving one woman dead and her partner in hospital, reports news.com.au.

Reports have now surfaced that, following the attacks, two other Russian spies were plotting to hack into the computer systems of Swiss Spiez Laboratory which was analysing the Novichok agent.

Swiss publication Tages Anzeiger and Dutch paper NRC have reported that the two men, who have yet to be identified, were arrested back in March and detained in The Hague before being extradited back to Russia.

This case is seriously complex, it involves many moving parts and players, and reads like something out of a spy novel.

We have two Russians, claiming to be innocent tourists in an English city, at the exact time that a former Russian spy and his daughter are attacked with a deadly nerve agent.

We also have another innocent couple, exposed to the same deadly nerve agent, one of which dies days later.

The deadly nerve agent effectively shuts down a city, with officials in hazmat suits casing the streets in search of the perpetrators.

And now, we hear of the arrest of a second pair of Russians, who had been plotting a cyber attack of the Spiez Laboratory computers. The Swiss lab was testing the deadly nerve agent at the time.

You just cannot make this stuff up.

In an attempt to clear their name, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov gave a bizarre television interview with TV network Russia Today, claiming they were simply in the area to marvel at it’s many historical wonders.

“Our friends had been telling us for some time we should visit this wonderful town,” Petrov said.

After an awkward silence in the interview, Boshirov filled it by clarifying they had visited the Salisbury Cathedral, which is famous for its “123-metre spire and its clock, one of the first ever created in the world that’s still working”.

Even British Prime Minister Theresa May isn’t buying their story, slamming it as “blatant fabrications” this month.

The comments have prompted a backlash from Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, who claimed the Kremlin had remained “unambiguous, transparent and consistent” throughout the entire saga.

“It is unacceptable to associate the Russian leadership or government with what went on in Salisbury,

“More so to blame Russia of lies following a statement by two civilians. These men are ordinary citizens with no relation to government”.

It’s safe to say it has been a big week for British and Russian relations…

So, in the wake of the claims and counterclaims in this extraordinary case, let’s take a look at everything we know about the Novichok poisonings.

FRIDAY, MARCH 2

3pm:

Two Russian men arrive at Gatwick Airport, using business visas under the names of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov. They had flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588.

5.40pm: The pair arrived at Victoria station in London around this time.

6pm: They then travelled to Waterloo station and onto East London before staying the next two nights at the City Stay Hotel.

SATURDAY, MARCH 3

11.45am:

The two men left their hotel and took a train to Waterloo station.

2.25pm: They took another train which arrived at Salisbury around this time.

4.10pm: Police believe the men left Salisbury for the day around 4pm and got back to their hotel at approximately 8pm.

SUNDAY, MARCH 4

8.05am:

The pair made the same journey from their hotel back to Salisbury where police believe they contaminated Skripal’s front door with the deadly Novichok nerve agent.

9.15am: Sergei Skripal is seen driving his BMW in the city.

11.48am: The pair is seen arriving at Salisbury train station just before 12pm. They’re spotted a few minutes later at a local Shell petrol station close to Sergei Skripal’s home.

12pm: The attack is believed to have occurred around this time. The perpetrators are understood to have doused the front door of Skripal’s home in Novichok.

1.05pm: Boshirov and Petrov are spotted in the city centre. It’s not known how they got there.

1.40pm: Sergei and his daughter Yulia are seen in the city centre. Police suspect that the father and daughter may have been home when the perpetrators doused their front door in Novichok.

4.15pm: Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury city centre, after being poisoned by Novichok nerve agent. The pair spent weeks in a critical condition but have since recovered.

4.45pm: Petrov and Boshirov leave Salisbury back to Waterloo Station.

6.30pm: The pair hop on the London Underground, bound for Heathrow Airport where they take a 10.30pm flight back to Moscow.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14

Prime Minister Theresa May says there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter.

MONDAY, MARCH 26

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that in response to the Salisbury attacks, his government had decided to expel “two Russian intelligence agents working at the Russian embassy’, according to Dutch News.

The two men were arrested for plotting to hack into the computers of a Swiss chemical weapons laboratory testing Novichok nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack. The spies were allegedly found with high tech espionage equipment, designed to spy on the lab and were sent back to Russia but have not been charged.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27

Salisbury resident Charlie Rowley, 45, claims he found a perfume bottle, which allegedly contained Novichok. He takes it home to his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess.

SATURDAY, JUNE 30

Dawn Sturgess a 44-year-old mother-of-three becomes ill after she was exposed to the Novichok nerve agent. It is understood she sprayed herself with the perfume bottle her partner Charlie Rowley brought home.

Charlie Rowley also becomes ill later that day and spent three weeks in hospital.

SATURDAY, JULY 8

Dawn Sturgess dies in hospital.

FRIDAY, MAY 4

Police carry out tests in the hotel room where the two Russian men had stayed. The results showed the presence of Novichok agent. European arrest warrants and Interpol red notices have been issued, meaning the men can be arrested if they leave Russia.

SEPTEMBER 5

British authorities said they had obtained a European arrest warrant for two Russians blamed for a nerve agent attack on a former spy in the city of Salisbury in March. Prosecutors said they wanted Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov for trying to kill Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the chemical Novichok.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

Boshirov and Petrov appear in on the state-funded television channel Russia Today to protest their innocence.

They were interviewed by Margarita Simonyan and it made for some interesting viewing.

When asked what they were doing in the UK, Petrov said they were there for a mix of business and pleasure.

“We planned to go to London and let loose, so to speak, it wasn’t a business trip,” he said.

“We came to Salisbury on the March 3…we tried to walk around the city, but since the city was covered in snow, we were able to only for a half an hour, we got wet”.

Strangely, the pair withdraws into a conversation between themselves when asked if they visited Sergei Skripal’s home when they were in Salisbury.

Petrov: Maybe we went by there.

Boshirov: Do you know where the Skripals’ home is? I don’t.

Petrov: If we would have known where it was.

Boshirov: Maybe we passed by it, maybe we didn’t pass by it, I don’t know, I hadn’t heard. I hadn’t heard this surname, I didn’t know anything about them before this situation, this nightmare with us started.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

Tensions between Britain and Russia have escalated, with a Kremlin spokesman claiming it would not allow the UK access to the accused spies, according to The independent.

“We don’t organise interviews with citizens of Russia,” Dmitry Peskov said.

“There are mechanisms to provide legal assistance… if the British decide to make an application, we will respond strictly according to law.”

Zakharova Slams Bellingcat Report Alleging Salisbury Suspects Had no ID Records
 

mikenova shared this story from Sputnik International – Breaking News & Analysis – Radio, Photos, Videos, Infographics.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Friday questioned the credibility of the report of UK investigative blogger group Bellingcat on alleged passport data of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected by London in the Skripal case.

“Was the Federal Migration Service [FMS] database hacked just today? London had made an announcement about Petrov and Boshirov long ago … So, not a single database was hacked before? No, it was not. Because another idea was promoted: these people just do not exist [as the names were said to be fictitious]. This is what the UK police said, posting their photos. Now the people are found. But the main question is different. Why Bellingcat finds it easier to ‘hack the FMS database’ overnight rather than get any evidence of the ‘involvement’ of Petrov and Boshirov in the poisoning?” Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

WATCH Skripal Poisoning “Suspects” Reveal Why They Visited Salisbury

She stressed that the UK investigative blogger group had five months to present to the public photographs, screenshots, videos, anything that would at least raise suspicions against Petrov and Boshirov but failed to do so.

Earlier in the day, Bellingcat and The Insider reported that their joint investigation confirmed, through uncovered passport data, that the two Russian nationals were linked to Russian security services. Such an assumption was explained by the fact that the men’s internal passports under these names were issued in 2009, while no records allegedly exist for these two individuals prior to this year.

READ MORE: ‘We Found Them’: Putin Says Russia Knows Who Salisbury Incident Suspects Are

The report comes a day after the RT broadcaster released the interview with Petrov and Boshirov, in which the men refuted any involvement in the Skripal case, saying that they had no relation to the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) and visited the United Kingdom as tourists. The UK Foreign Office called the interview “obfuscation and lies.”

The “Sandworm Hacking Group” is the hypothetical connnection between the “PETRONAS” (Petrov Boshirov PERSONAS)  – the Salisbury Poisoning, and the Blackberry – Abedin’s device – Clinton’s emails – Anthony Weiner sexting affair – Democratic Party hack – US Elections 2016 Interference | FBI News Review
 

mikenova shared this story from FBI News Review.

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M.N.: This is indeed the hypothetical connection between the “PETRONAS” (Petrov Boshirov PERSONAS)  – the Salisbury Poisoning, and the Blackberry – Abedin’s device – Clinton’s emails – Anthony Weiner sexting affair – Democratic Party hack – US Elections 2016 Interference: 

The Boshirov Petrov hacking attempt (GNews)

The “Sandworm Hacking Group” – (GNews). 

This means that the Salisbury Poisoning and the US Elections 2016 Interference might be the parts of the same large operation designed by the Demiurge, the New Abwehr, which uses the ostensibly GRU related groups as its covers. It might be the mixed or the purely the GRU groups but I strongly doubt it: the overall benefits of the Operation Dusseldorf Karnival are in the German and certainly not in Russian interests. 

___________________________

“Two suspects in the poison Poisoninging of an ex-Russian spy were briefly detained in the Netherlands earlier this year, according to research by Bellingcat, an investigative group.

Bellingcat quoted an unnamed security official saying that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were detained in the Netherlands earlier this year and released without being charged.”

“Dutch expelled Russians over alleged novichok lab hacking plot
Two men were arrested over alleged plan to infiltrate lab where Salisbury nerve agent was analysed…

The Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection said in June that the Spiez laboratory had been targeted by hackers said to be from the Russian government-affiliated group Sandworm. It is not clear whether the expulsion of the two spies from the Netherlands was linked.”

M.N.: It is the same hacking group, “Sandform – APT28 – Fancy Bear, etc., etc.”. “It was involved in the operation to hack and release damaging information on the Democratic Party during the 2016 US presidential election, and has engineered a number of computer network disruptions in Ukraine”.

Is it also resposible for hacking Clinton’s emails, and for downloading emails to Abedin’s computer?

“The Justice Department said the “VPNFilter” botnet was set up by a hacking group variously called APT28, Pawn Storm, Sandworm, Fancy Bear and the Sofacy Group.”

__________________________

The move was aimed at breaking up an operation deeply embedded in small and medium-sized computer networks that could allow the hackers to take control of computers as well as easily steal data.

The Justice Department said the “VPNFilter” botnet was set up by a hacking group variously called APT28, Pawn Storm, Sandworm, Fancy Bear and the Sofacy Group.

The group is blamed for cyber attacks on numerous governments, key infrastructure industries like power grids, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and other bodies.

US intelligence agencies also say it was involved in the operation to hack and release damaging information on the Democratic Party during the 2016 US presidential election, and has engineered a number of computer network disruptions in Ukraine.

“According to cybersecurity researchers, the Sofacy Group is a cyber-espionage group believed to have originated from Russia,” the Department of Justice said in a court filing.

“Likely operating since 2007, the group is known to typically target government, military, security organizations, and other targets of intelligence value, through a variety of means,” it said.

The Justice filing did not say who was behind Sofacy Group, but US intelligence has in the past linked it to Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, and numerous private computer security groups have made the same connection.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-05-disrupts-russian-botnet-hacked-routers.html#jCp

U.K. investigation says Novichok poisoning suspects detained and released by Dutch this year
 

mikenova shared this story from TORONTO STAR | NEWS | WORLD.

MOSCOW—British investigative group Bellingcat says two suspects in the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy were briefly detained in the Netherlands earlier this year.

Bellingcat in its investigation released late Thursday quoted an unnamed security official saying that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were detained in the Netherlands earlier this year and released without being charged.

Dutch authorities didn’t immediately confirm the report, saying Friday that they were assessing an Associated Press request for comment.

Britain has charged Petrov and Boshirov with trying to kill Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok.

Media reports last week said two unidentified Russian spies were arrested on Dutch soil and deported, and leaked police information linked the arrests with attempts by them to smuggle hacking equipment to Switzerland.

Salisbury Novichok suspects ‘were detained in Netherlands earlier this year’
 

mikenova shared this story from National Updates.

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US disrupts Russian botnet of 500,000 hacked routers
 

mikenova shared this story from Phys.org – latest science and technology news stories.

The US Justice Department said Wednesday that it had seized an internet domain that directed a dangerous botnet of a half-million infected home and office network routers, controlled by hackers believed tied to Russian intelligence.

The move was aimed at breaking up an operation deeply embedded in small and medium-sized computer networks that could allow the hackers to take control of computers as well as easily steal data.

The Justice Department said the “VPNFilter” botnet was set up by a hacking group variously called APT28, Pawn Storm, Sandworm, Fancy Bear and the Sofacy Group.

The group is blamed for cyber attacks on numerous governments, key infrastructure industries like power grids, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and other bodies.

US intelligence agencies also say it was involved in the operation to hack and release damaging information on the Democratic Party during the 2016 US presidential election, and has engineered a number of computer network disruptions in Ukraine.

“According to cybersecurity researchers, the Sofacy Group is a cyber-espionage group believed to have originated from Russia,” the Department of Justice said in a court filing.

“Likely operating since 2007, the group is known to typically target government, military, security organizations, and other targets of intelligence value, through a variety of means,” it said.

The Justice filing did not say who was behind Sofacy Group, but US intelligence has in the past linked it to Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, and numerous private computer security groups have made the same connection.

In Wednesday’s action, the Justice Department said it had obtained a warrant authorizing the FBI to seize a computer domain that is part of the command and control system of the VPNFilter botnet.

The botnet targets home and office routers, through which it can relay orders from the botnet’s controllers and intercept and reroute traffic back to them, virtually undetected by the users of a network.

In a report released in parallel to the Justice announcement, network equipment giant Cisco said VPNFilter had infected at least 500,000 devices in at least 54 countries.

It has targeted popular router brands like Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR and TP-Link.

“The behavior of this malware on networking equipment is particularly concerning, as components of the VPNFilter malware allows for theft of website credentials,” Cisco said.

It also has “a destructive capacity that can render an infected device unusable, which can be triggered on individual victim machines or en masse.”

Both Justice and Cisco said they were releasing details of the problem before having found a strong, permanent fix. Justice said that by seizing control of one of the domains involved in running VNPFilter, it will give owners of infected routers a chance to reboot them, forcing them to begin communicating with the now-neutralized command domain.

The vulnerability will remain, Justice said, but the move will allow them more time to identify and intervene in other parts of the network.

Explore further: Russian hackers infiltrated German ministries’ network: report

© 2018 AFP

sandworm hacking group – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story from sandworm hacking group – Google News.

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Dutch expelled Russians over alleged novichok lab hacking plot

The GuardianSep 14, 2018
The Sandworm hackers posed as the laboratory’s organising committee …. civil defence group, are preparing to stage fake chemical attacks.

Story image for sandworm hacking group from Mother Jones

Russian Cyberwarfare Is Much Worse Than You Think. Donald …

Mother JonesSep 16, 2018
But those attacks still weren’t Sandworm’s grand finale. In the spring of 2017, unbeknownst to anyone at Linkos Group, Russian military hackers …

Story image for sandworm hacking group from Telegraph.co.uk

Swiss lab that analysed Salisbury nerve agent says it was targeted by …

Telegraph.co.ukJul 30, 2018
The state-run Spiez laboratory near Bern was targeted by hackers … The Spiez lab confirmed that Sandworm, a group of hackers widely …

Story image for sandworm hacking group from WIRED

Your Guide to Russia’s Infrastructure Hacking Teams

WIREDJul 12, 2017
(FireEye also linked Sandworm with Russia based on Russian-language documents found on one of the group’s command-and-control servers …

Story image for sandworm hacking group from Deutsche Welle

German broadcasters targeted by Russian hackers

Deutsche WelleJul 27, 2018
A Russian hacking group known as “Sandworm” targeted Germany’s two largest public broadcasters, ZDF and WDR, according to German …

Story image for sandworm hacking group from Defense One

Kremlin Hackers Take Aim at the Swiss Lab That’s Working the Skripal …

Defense OneJul 31, 2018
A state-backed Russian hacking group is targeting a Swiss laboratory … Called Sandworm, the group has been trying to phish employees of …

Story image for sandworm hacking group from Phys.Org

US disrupts Russian botnet of 500000 hacked routers

Phys.OrgMay 23, 2018
US disrupts Russian botnet of 500,000 hacked routers … botnet was set up by a hacking group variously called APT28, Pawn Storm, Sandworm …
boshirov petrov hacking – Google Search
 

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Salisbury poisoning suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov …

Sky NewsSep 21, 2018
Petrov and Boshirov have been named by Britain as the prime … linked the arrests with attempts to smuggle hacking equipment to Switzerland.
Report: Russian spy suspects detained this year by Dutch
<a href=”http://MyChamplainValley.com” rel=”nofollow”>MyChamplainValley.com</a> FOX44 & ABC22Sep 21, 2018
Passport Similarities Could Be Exposing Russian Spies In Europe
 

mikenova shared this story from The Daily Caller.

An investigation into passport similarities among Russian poisoning suspects reportedly provided insight into whether or not the individuals are linked to Russian security services.

Two men accused of poisoning Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent, have passports that “shared similar features with a number of other files that are believed to be associated with Russian spies,” The Washington Post reported Monday.

Passports of the accused — Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov — reportedly had phone numbers connected to Russian military facilities as well as similar passport numbers and issuing authority, according to a joint investigation from Bellingcat and Russia Insider. The report “appears to have provided European agencies with a number of details,” according to WaPo.

The passports were scrutinized after Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with nerve agent Novichok on March 4 in Salisbury, England. Investigators in the joint report determined that prime suspects Boshirov and Petrov likely used false identities to cover for their involvement in the Skripals’ murders since they found no record of them individuals before 2009. (RELATED: Russian Gov’t Responds To Charges Against Alleged Spy Linked To NRA)

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Sept. 12 that the men were civilians who “traveled to Salisbury for a tourist getaway,” according to the joint report.

Bellingcat and Russian Insider also discovered “top-secret” markings on one of the passports, indicating the unlikelihood that they were simply civilian tourists in the area at the time of the poisoning.

Passports with similar features to Boshirov and Petrov’s documents were also found to be connected to an attempted coup in Montenegro, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Russia’s explanation of the poisoning “was a major disaster,” said former KGB agent Alexander Vassiliev, according to CBC News.

“The propaganda machine is not working. It’s mistake after mistake,” he added. Vassiliev is currently a London-based espionage historian.

“We are poisoning ourselves,” Russian economist and politician Grigory Yavlinsky also said, CBC reported.

Norwegian authorities arrested a man Friday on suspicions of being a Russian spy, and Estonia charged at least 12 alleged Russian spies since 2008, according to WaPo. Dutch officials also arrested two men suspected of spying for the Russian government earlier in 2018.

Roughly 200,000 Russians live in London, and more than 700,000 Londoners speak Russian, according to ABC News.

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Are Germany and Russia friends?
 

mikenova shared this story from Turkey and World News.

Lincoln Pigman

The relationship of the two countries predates that of the two leaders. And when Merkel and Putin sit down for talks on Saturday in the German government’s villa outside Berlin, they will be influenced by a long history of alienation and rapprochements, limiting the expectations — and possibly the results — of the meeting.

Pressed on the nature of the talks, Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, indicated the leaders would focus on finding common ground on acute international issues, such as Syria, Ukraine and energy. But he declined to provide details.

Russia is an international actor without whom it is impossible to imagine finding solutions to various problems” in the world, Seibert told reporters in Berlin.

Many experts expect that the meeting will attempt to put the relationship between Berlin and Moscow on more pragmatic ground, but few expect the session to end with strong resolutions or a new strategic partnership.

Here’s a look at some of the issues that define and influence German-Russian ties.

— Are Germany and Russia friends?

The two countries could be described as the ultimate international “frenemies,” with economic, cultural and intellectual ties reaching back centuries. Since the 18th century, they have cycled through a series of conflicts and reconciliations, most recently World War II and the Cold War.

Throughout the Soviet era, Germany was Moscow’s most important trading partner, and many Germans view the strong, positive ties to Moscow as a key contributor to the end of the Cold War and German unification. When the Berlin Wall fell, Germany reached out to Moscow, partly to help former Soviet bloc countries integrate into the European Union, not only strengthening political and economic ties, but also investing in civil society.

But a break in relations that started with the Russian authorities’ repressive reaction to public protests in 2011 and 2012 worsened in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and supported rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Merkel and Putin have maintained regular contact. In May, she visited Putin at his summer residence in Sochi, Russia.

But Susan Stewart, a senior associate with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, cautioned that the leaders’ meeting in Germany should not be viewed as a fundamental shift in German-Russian relations. Instead, it is an indication of the hope that the two sides will be able to reach a compromise on key points, while maintaining their differences over Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine.

“They will be trying a two-pronged approach,” Stewart said. “They will try to cooperate on those points where there is a common interest, but we will not see a return to business as usual.”

— What does Germany want from Russia?

Both Germany and Russia have problems that are tied to Syria.

For Merkel, the issue is domestic, as her decision to allow more than 1 million people — most of them refugees from the war in Syria — to apply for asylum in Germany has met increasing resistance from the public and from her own government. For Putin, it is not being quite able to find a solution to Syria’s civil war despite having declared “mission accomplished” on several occasions.

Both leaders could benefit from finding a way to ensure sufficient political stability in Syria to allow Germany to begin encouraging refugees to return, while Putin is seeking support from Berlin and the European Union to help rebuild the country, said Stefan Meister of the German Council on Foreign Relations.

“It is in the domestic political interest of the German government that Syrian refugees be able to return to a stable Syria,” Meister said.

— What does Russia want from Germany?

Germany’s willingness to throw its full weight behind the United States’ decision to impose sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea, its involvement in the pro-Kremlin insurgency in eastern Ukraine and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, took the Russians by surprise.

The move made clear to Russian leaders that the special relationship they believed they had shared with Berlin was over. Soon afterward, Germany found itself in the crosshairs of Russian cyberattacks and a campaign in the Russian news media that caused Germany to plunge in Russian public opinion.
“If you look at the image of Germany — and Merkel in particular — in Russian political discourse, you will see that it really has deteriorated tremendously,” said Sabine Fischer, head researcher on Eastern Europe at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

A survey cited on Friday by Vedomosti, a Russian business daily, reflected this trend, showing approval of the German chancellor among Russians plummeting to 15 percent in August 2016 from 60 percent in February 2011.

But to break out of its international isolation, Russia needs Germany’s support. It hopes to persuade the chancellor not to support a fresh round of sanctions President Donald Trump has threatened to impose over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

“There is a need for more pragmatic action at the political level,” Fischer said.

— Is Germany a ‘captive of Russia,’ as Trump says?

Germany imports about 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia, according to government statistics. That is more than any other EU country, but less than the 60 percent to 70 percent Trump cited when he accused Germany of being a “captive” of Russia at a NATO summit last month.

“That comment clearly taps into a stereotype in Washington that because of its economic ties, Germany is ‘weaker’ on Russia,” said Derek Chollet, an adviser on security and defense policy with the German Marshall Fund in Washington.

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s close relationship to Putin and his decision to join the board of Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft, has only bolstered that notion. But Merkel has shown a willingness to draw a line, with her decisions to support sanctions against Russia in 2015 and to join the coordinated response to the poisoning in Britain this spring.

“My sense is Merkel, who in her own way makes clear that she understands the Russians and Putin as a type as well as anyone, has no illusions about Russia or Putin and their motives,” Chollet said.

Source: The New York Times

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Four MORE Russian suspects yet to be named in Salisbury Novichok probe
 

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Four MORE Russian suspects are yet to be named in the Salisbury Novichok probe amid claims the attack was carried out by a six strong assassination squad named ‘The Cleaners’

  • Security sources said the hit squad who targeted the Skripals had six members
  • The attempted assassins reportedly had a back-up team to help reconnaissance 
  • Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were accused of carrying out the attack 

By Tim Stickings For Mailonline

Published: 22:49 BST, 8 September 2018 | Updated: 09:33 BST, 9 September 2018

Four more Russians are suspects in the Novichok investigation but have yet to be named, it was claimed tonight.

Security sources have reportedly said the Russian hit squad who targeted former spy Sergei Skripal had six members who were known as The Cleaners.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were accused this week of carrying out the poisoning in Salisbury and were identified as members of the GRU, Russia‘s military intelligence service.

The attempted assassins are said to have had a back-up team who travelled separately and helped with reconnaissance in Salisbury, the Mirror reported.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov (pictured)were accused this week of carrying out the poisoning in Salisbury and were identified as members of Russia's military intelligence agency
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Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov (pictured)were accused this week of carrying out the poisoning in Salisbury and were identified as members of Russia’s military intelligence agency

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Police visit former Russian spy Skripal’s home in Salisbury

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A source told the newspaper: ‘Back-up is needed to keep the Skripals under surveillance. Petrov and Boshirov needed to know they wouldn’t turn up while they were spraying the novichok.’

The back-up team were also there in case anything happened to the nerve agent, the source said.

The two alleged assassins are also said to have visited the UK several times, posing as wealthy Russians, so that their trip in March would not attract suspicion.

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It came as work started to decontaminate the home of poisoning victim Mr Skripal, six months after the attack.

A cordon is in place so that police investigations or clean-up work can be carried out safely and will remain in place until the decontamination has been completed.

Counter-terrorism officers believe the house is where Mr Skripal, a former Russian agent, and his daughter Yulia were contaminated with nerve agent on March 4, after a high concentration of the chemical weapon was found on the front door.

Military personnel dressed in protective clothing begin decontaminating the home of Sergei Skripal, the former spy who was targeted in the Novichok attack in Salisbury in March 
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Military personnel dressed in protective clothing begin decontaminating the home of Sergei Skripal, the former spy who was targeted in the Novichok attack in Salisbury in March

Yulia Skripal speaks about poisoning: ‘I’m lucky to be alive’

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The clean-up is being overseen by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in partnership with Wiltshire Council and carried out by specialist military teams.

Former GRU officer Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill after being exposed to the military grade nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in March.

Detectives believe it is likely the two suspects, thought to be aged around 40, travelled under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names.

Prosecutors deem it futile to apply to Russia for the extradition of the two men, but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained and the authorities are also seeking the assistance of Interpol.

Officers have formally linked the attack on the Skripals to events in nearby Amesbury when Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were exposed to the same nerve agent. Ms Sturgess later died in hospital.

Moscow has continued to deny it was involved in the attack.

Former GRU officer Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together) were left critically ill after being exposed to the military grade nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in March
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Former GRU officer Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together) were left critically ill after being exposed to the military grade nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in March

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Skripal suspect was given Russia’s highest military honor: report

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An investigation by the Telegraph and Bellingcat found that the man named … British police say the pair sprayed Novichok on the front door of … into Russian and German spheres of influence according to a secret protocol !
Mr. Grozev, why don’t you publish the “scientific-like” report? – 1:58 PM 9/30/2018 | FBI News Review
 

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Mr. Grozev, why don’t you publish the “scientific-like” report including the descriptions of the replicable methodology, addressing specifically this point and issue: 

On the basis of what “metrics” or “no-metrics”, quantitatively and qualitatively, “subjectively and objectively”, and by what reasoning, did you come to the conclusion that “Boshirov” is “Chepiga”? 

Mr. Grozev’s arguments are not convincing so far, while the arguments of his opponent (in the second cited article), are detailed, well reasoned, and convincing. 

Links: 

You sound very confident. How do you know this is Colonel Chepiga?

We’ve identified him via many, many objective and subjective metrics. First of all, objectively, we got a hold of his original passport file. So we’ve seen the actual passport database with his date of birth, original photo, taken when he was 17, and another one when he got his first passport, and another one when he was 21.

After we were ready with the report and the identification, we actually contacted sources at the British police and secret services to just get a nod, or not a nod, as to our findings — and we got the nod. So we know for sure that’s the one.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are seen on CCTV at Salisbury Station on Mar. 3, 2018 . (Metropolitan Police/Reuters)

M.N.: This is the amazing photo, as if the pair (and most likely the organizer of course, who had the digital samples of this security camera) knew where to pose for the right angle: the scene looks  like a cemetery with tombstones, more than a train station. It is a threat: “We have some Novichok for you…” 

And the signature is on the bottom of this photo: the colors of Germany’s flag, mixed with the blue and  yellow strips of the Ukrainian flag. 

Michael Novakhov

9.30.18

_________________________________

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How an investigative team ID’d Skripal poisoning suspect as a Russian colonel
 

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According to an interview on Russia’s RT television, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were two innocent men in the fitness industry, who were traveling Salisbury, England to visit the town’s famous cathedral.

The U.K. government has said the two men were actually there to poison former Russian spy Sergey Skripal, and his daughter Yulia.

And now, an investigative website says it’s been able to track down the real identity of one of the men.

According to Bellingcat’s research, Boshirov is actually a decorated Russian military intelligence officer named Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga. Russia has denied the allegations.

Christo Grozev is a researcher who led Bellingcat’s investigation. As It Happens host Carol Off spoke to Grozev about how they tracked down Chepiga.

Mr. Grozev, when we saw this RT interview, one of the men introduced himself as Ruslan Boshirov. What have you discovered is his real name?

His name is Anatoliy​ Chepiga. He’s off by one year from the personality he presented, in terms of age. And he’s off by many, many other qualities from the personality that we saw on RT.

You sound very confident. How do you know this is Colonel Chepiga?

We’ve identified him via many, many objective and subjective metrics. First of all, objectively, we got a hold of his original passport file. So we’ve seen the actual passport database with his date of birth, original photo, taken when he was 17, and another one when he got his first passport, and another one when he was 21.

After we were ready with the report and the identification, we actually contacted sources at the British police and secret services to just get a nod, or not a nod, as to our findings — and we got the nod. So we know for sure that’s the one.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are seen on CCTV at Salisbury Station on Mar. 3, 2018 . (Metropolitan Police/Reuters)

You also dug into the file of Colonel Chepiga. He’s a much decorated serviceman. He has received Russia’s highest state award. What do you know about him?

He was born in a tiny village, population less than 300 people, in the farthest corner of the Russian Federation. He went to a military school that was only about 30 miles away from his home village that, at that time, in the late ’90s and early ‘2000s, was one of the most elite, or let’s say better-staffed schools, for military education. He got his military education in a special operations unit, training unit, at the school.

Immediately thereafter, he was sent to service in Chechnya, where he amassed a number of awards because, apparently, he was great at what he did as a soldier. And then as a very promising soldier, who had accumulated about 15 awards already, he was sent to GRU school. And GRU school in Moscow is one of the …  it’s called the Academy, the Diplomatic Academy. But, in fact, it’s a spy school and it’s the most elite spy school in Russia.

In this video grab provided by the RT channel Ruslan Boshirov, left, and Alexander Petrov attend their first public appearance in an interview with the RT channel in Moscow, Russia. (RT Channel Video/Associated Press)

It sounds [like] you have a lot of information, mostly from open sources. You didn’t go on the ground to seek this out. You did this from a distance. And this is working for your website Bellingcat, which has been accused by the Russian government of being a front for Western intelligence agencies, that you’re fabricating evidence. Why should we trust your conclusions here?

All of our findings in the past have either been proven right or Russia has stopped trying to rebut them because they have no way to rebut them. What we do is very transparent. Almost anybody with the analytic skills can go and replicate that data. We don’t point people to where they can get leaked Russian databases but they’re out there. They’re on the Internet and they’re in torrents. Anybody who spends a week will be able to get them and replicate our findings.

But a number of things have left people scratching their heads about your conclusion. I think you’re scratching your head as well. Why a colonel? Why somebody of such a high rank, and such a decorated man, be sent on this mission to poison people in Great Britain? And also to be so exposed, because you know that when you’re in Great Britain there are a lot of cameras observing. So why such a high-ranking man?

That’s a mystery. We’ve received opinions from two senior Russian officers. Both of them said literally the same thing: “We would have expected somebody with a rank of major or even captain to have done this.”

The fact that they chose a colonel means that the order came at a very high level. Probably one layer below Putin, not Putin himself. But it’s something they did in order to show to Putin that actually they took all the measures and all the precautions to have the highest expertise on the ground, which apparently they didn’t.

Police officers stand outside the City Stay Hotel in Bow, where Russian military intelligence agents Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov previously stayed after arriving in the U.K. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

This is all around the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and Yulia Skripal — and also, the British citizen Dawn Sturgess. We saw this man who calls himself Ruslan Boshirov and his partner on television in this RT interview. They looked like goofs, didn’t they? You’re laughing, everyone was laughing, including people in Russia. So how is it that somebody of such a high calibre, somebody who is so skilled, would be, first of all, be allowed to be on Russian TV, to be so exposed — and then, to be such a goof?

That’s another mystery. There are at least two hypothesis on this that circulate among informed circles. One is that they were given this order at the last moment, after Putin made that blunder himself, by saying, “Well, we know they’re civilians and I expect them to come and save themselves.”

Bear in mind that people like this are never prepared to go public and to be burned in public. This was a very embarrassing moment for them.

Another hypothesis was that this was punishment for their blunder and their busted job. I don’t believe that’s realistic because whatever they were, they were not traitors. And in the Russian army the only people they punish really are traitors. If anything they would be demoted but not put on purpose to be embarrassed.

Does it appear that this was just a botched operation? I mean, they were successful in reaching these people and poisoning them. But was this a failure?

I think now it has become a failure. Even Russians, the average Russian who believes, if nothing else, Russia is good at spying, now realizes they aren’t good at that either. If you look at Internet memes that spread on the Russian Internet, before they were making fun of the West, of America, of the opposition. Now Russians are making fun of their own intelligence services and that’s unprecedented. I think that is a failure for the regime.

Written by John McGill. Produced by Chris Harbord. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

11:49 AM 9/30/2018 – “PETRONAS……. Blackberry…” | Let Me Zink | “Pirelli”: Flammable… | Si Senor… But makes sense and is quite manageable. | Global Security News
 

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Third suspect identified in Novichok poisoning of Skripals in Salisbury

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A THIRD person understood to have helped two Russian men carry out the lethal Salisbury nerve agent poisoning has been identified by counter-terrorism police.

The Telegraph is reporting that the GRU agent helped plan the attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the small English town earlier this year.

It comes after one of the men, who was previously identified as Ruslan Boshirov, was outed earlier this week as decorated Russian intelligence officer Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga.

Chepiga was previously made a Hero of the Russian Federation by President Vladimir Putin.

His accomplice — Alexander Petrov — is understood to have also entered the UK on a fake surname.

The Telegraph is reporting that the third accomplice provided information to the Skripals, whose Novichok nerve agent inadvertently killed local woman Dawn Sturgess and critically injured Colonel Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he believed the Russians tried to kill Colonel Skripal because they thought the attack could be successfully pulled off following the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2005.

“That’s why Theresa May’s reaction this time has been very different,” Mr Hunt told Sky News.

The third person is likely to have told the Skripals about which door their target used at the property and the layout of the cul-de-sac.

Security experts say the intel would have been essential as such an attack would not have been unplanned.

The Telegraph has reported that Sergei Migdal, a security expert and former police and intelligence officer, said, “Someone would have had to carry out a reconnaissance mission beforehand.”

“I understand that it was timed for Yulia’s arrival as they wanted to be sure that their target would be in Salisbury. It would have been too much trouble to watch him all the time and that may have aroused suspicion.”

Colonel Skripal and his daughter survived the attack and are understood to be in hiding.

Former intelligence and security officer Philip Ingram said there was “almost certainly” intelligence on the ground.

“They wouldn’t have turned up at the house and put it on the door handle on a whim.”

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Novichok assassin’s former chief claims he wasn’t trained for spy missions

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Novichok assassin’s former Russian army chief comes forward to admit he was military trained, but not for spy missions

  • One of the agents accused over Salisbury attack was outed as a GRU colonel
  • Pictures show striking similarities between Anatoly Chepiga and ‘Boshirov’
  • But Kremlin has attempted to spread that assassin is decorated Russian agent
  • Chepiga’s former commander today insisted the soldier wasn’t trained to spy

By Richard Spillett In London and Will Stewart In Moscow for MailOnline

Published: 16:05 BST, 28 September 2018 | Updated: 23:36 BST, 28 September 2018

The former commander of the Russian assassin accused of carrying out the Salisbury novichok attack has admitted he was military trained, but not for spy missions.

The Kremlin’s media machine has gone into overdrive since investigators revealed one of the two Russians behind the attack is a Colonel Anatoly Chepiga – a high ranking GRU officer who was made a ‘Hero of Russia‘ for missions in Chechnya and Ukraine.

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