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How Putin uses a “viciously theatrical” arsenal of poison cooked up in the mysterious Laboratory X to sow terror among his enemies

POISON is Vladimir Putin’s weapon of choice – and the mad tyrant is now the prime suspect in the attack on his sidekick Roman Abramovich.

The Chelsea owner was reportedly poisoned during peace talks alongside two Ukrainian diplomats – leaving him with vision loss, flaky skin, constant painful tears and red eyes.

Vladimir Putin's weapon of choice for instilling fear among his enemies is poison

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Vladimir Putin’s weapon of choice for instilling fear among his enemies is poisonPhoto credit: Reuters
Roman Abramovich's skin reportedly peeled and lost his sight after falling ill

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Roman Abramovich’s skin reportedly peeled and lost his sight after falling illPhoto credit: East2West
Headquarters of the Russian espionage service SVR, which is believed to be using the poison - and is also home to several laboratories

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Headquarters of the Russian espionage service SVR, which is believed to be using the poison – and is also home to several laboratoriesPhoto Credit: AP:Associated Press

Russian billionaire Abramovich is the latest in a long line of victims believed to have been left ill by the Kremlin’s shadowy hand – sometimes fighting for their lives.

Though Moscow is always in denial, it is believed that Putin uses poison to spread terror among his enemies – often in hopes of silencing them rather than killing them.

At least eight prominent critics of Putin and his regime are suspected of being poisoned after they fell ill under mysterious circumstances.

Victims have screamed in pain, seen their faces disfigured, or died a slow death from radiation.

Prada-loving warlord hired by Russia to save the invasion of Ukraine
Abramovich looks tired-eyed in the first pictures since the poisoning claims at war talks

They will spend weeks in the hospital, and even if they survive, they will have been sent an unforgettable message – don’t mess with Putin.

And at the heart of Russia’s poison arsenal is the mysterious “Lab X,” which has been in operation for over a hundred years since the days of the Soviet Union.

Abramovich is believed to have eaten spiked chocolate and required hospital treatment, with symptoms easing after a week.

It is believed that the poisoning was not intended to be fatal – but rather sent a message to anyone seen as working against Russia.

The attack, believed to have taken place in Kyiv, has been described as “all hallmarks of Russian intelligence.”

And it is believed that the Chelsea owner – a Oligarch sanctioned by Britain for his ties to Putin – may even have been accidentally attacked.

The 55-year-old had acted as a mediator and, among other things, delivered a handwritten note from the Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyj directly to Putin.

Putin’s vicious war continues after a month of brutal fighting and bombing – despite Russia’s expectations of a speedy conquest of Ukraine.

And this latest suspicion of poisoning shows how deep Moscow will go to try to get what it wants while trying to reshape the world order.

Poisoning is considered Putin’s calling card – with a “sly wink” to the world paired with a lot of “simple denial” and “malicious theatrics”.


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The method seems to be different each time, from poisoned umbrellas to chemical agents smeared on doorknobs or simply toxins sprinkled into victims’ food and drink.

The home of Putin’s poison arsenal is believed to be Moscow’s Scientific Research Institute No. 2 – run by the FSB, the modern day successor to the KGB.

Venom is also used by the SVR – which reports directly to Putin – and GRU – the military intelligence service.

Also known as “Lab X” or just “The Poison Factory” – the facility has been in operation since 1921, having been founded by the father of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin.

The lab was most recently linked to the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny – with eight members of the hit squad stationed at the institute in Moscow.

Western intelligence believes Putin’s spies continue to operate from the building – described by The guard as a “squat, beige building” on the outskirts of the capital.

It is believed that Russia refined its chemical weapons arsenal during the Soviet era by conducting tests on prisoners.

The goal was to find a chemical that is tasteless and odorless and cannot be detected post mortem.

Test subjects were often given food or medicine laced with the chemicals — and they were closely monitored as they died or suffered.

And the so-called Laboratory X is just one of many chemistry laboratories believed to still be operating in Russia, among others, including Laboratory 1 – known as The Cell – and the closed city of Shikhany-1.

Putin is believed to have developed the nerve agent Novichok at Shikhany-1, which was used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

The duo had to fight for their lives afterwards nerve agent was smeared on the doorknob of his house.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned while boarding a plane

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned while boarding a plane
Anti-Kremlin activist Pyotr Verzilov couldn't see, hear, or walk after he was poisoned

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Anti-Kremlin activist Pyotr Verzilov couldn’t see, hear, or walk after he was poisonedPhoto credit: Reuters
Alexander Litvinenko died after polonium-210 was inoculated into his teapot

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Alexander Litvinenko died after polonium-210 was inoculated into his teapotPhoto credit: Getty

Mark Galeotti, Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, narrated foreign policy in 2019: “One of Venom’s great virtues for the politically-minded killer is its ability to combine easy denial and vicious theatrics.

“Even while the killer denies any role, perhaps with a mischievous wink, the victim dies a gruesome and often protracted death.

“A message in a poison bottle.”

Poison seems to have been the weapon of choice for Russia since the Cold War.

Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was injected with a poisoned umbrella in a 1978 KGB-related assassination attempt.

John Sipher, who worked for the CIA for 28 years, said: “The Kremlin has a long, ugly history of intimidating and killing people it sees as a threat to the state.

“Journalists, members of the opposition, vocal Russians abroad and others must always be aware that the Kremlin does not see them as free citizens.”

Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent, is perhaps the best-known case of Russian state-related poisoning.

The infamous image of him lying critically ill in hospital is reminiscent of the Kremlin’s suspected reach.

He is believed to have been given a lethal dose of radioactive polonium-210 and suffered a slow three-week death from radiation sickness in November 2006.

Scotland Yard said they believe the Russian state is implicated in his murder, and witnesses said he was killed “to set an example”.

Russian spies Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov arrived in Salisbury to poison Sergei and Julia Skripal

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Russian spies Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov arrived in Salisbury to poison Sergei and Julia SkripalCredit: PA
Soldiers in hazmat suits set up a tent near where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found in Salisbury

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Soldiers in hazmat suits set up a tent near where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found in SalisburyPhoto credit: Simon Jones – The Sun

Putin’s alleged poison victims

EIGHT enemies of Vladimir Putin have fallen ill with suspected poisoning since 2004.

Anna Politkovskaya – Poisoned after drinking tea from an Aeroflot flight attendant in September 2004. She was later shot dead in Moscow in October 2006.

Viktor Yushchenko – Was also left disfigured in September 2004 after eating food laced with chemical TCDD. He managed to bounce back and win the Ukrainian presidency on a pro-Western platform – served from 2005 to 2010

Alexander Litvinenko – Died after being poisoned with radioactive polonium in London in November 2006. Blamed Putin for attacking his deathbed.

Vladimir Kara-Murza – Fell ill after being allegedly poisoned on an Aeroflot plane in May 2015. It was then believed he was poisoned again in February 2017.

Pyotr Versilov – Hospitalized after falling ill in Moscow after attending a court case against anti-Putin band Pussy Riot on September 12, 2018.

Sergei Skripal – Found gravely ill on a bench in Salisbury, having been believed to have been poisoned with the Russian-developed neurotoxin Novchok on March 4, 2018.

Julia Skripal – Fell ill the same day along with her father. Both fought for their lives in hospital for weeks in a brazen attack that shocked Britain.

Alexei Navalny – Left screaming and violently ill after allegedly drinking poison tea before boarding a flight in Tomsk on August 20, 2020.

Gennady V. Gudkov, a former KGB colonel, said that poison is often used because it’s easy and anyone could do it – for example by staking a cup of tea in an airport cafe.

He told that New York Times: “It’s simple and easy to cover your tracks.”

Ukrainian opposition politician Viktor Yushchenko was disfigured when he was poisoned in 2004 while running for president on a pro-Western platform.

He is believed to have been poisoned with dioxin TCDD during a dinner with officers from Ukraine’s security services.

As a result, he had to undergo dozens of surgeries – and his face was scarred and pockmarked from the disease.

Russia has been accused of harboring three suspects in connection with the poisoning – and he believes the assassination was ordered by Moscow.

Putin’s regime has always denied or dismissed any allegations that it was behind a campaign of poisoning and murder against its critics.

Other critics have also been killed under mysterious circumstances, found shot or strangled, for example — but poison seems reserved for Putin’s greatest enemies.

Britain’s Foreign Office said the poisoning of Abramovich and the diplomats was “very worrying”.

Investigative journalist Christo Grozev – who published the story – told Times Radio the “most plausible” explanation for the alleged poisoning was that it was a warning to Roman.

He said: “So it could well be seen as a red flag for them not to join the ranks of those who disagree and not to be too much of an honest broker.”

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5000428/putin-poison-arsenal-lab-x-terror-enemies/ How Putin uses a “viciously theatrical” arsenal of poison cooked up in the mysterious Laboratory X to sow terror among his enemies

DevanCole

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