Russian Embassy in Britain Trolls Twitter by Being Pedantic About Poisoned Spy

Illustration for article titled Russian Embassy in Britain Trolls Twitter by Being Pedantic About Poisoned Spy
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The Russian Embassy in the UK is known for being a troll online. So it’s no surprise that it’s being pretty flippant about the recent news that a Russian spy was poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury. Make that a British spy who was poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury. Because being pedantic about headlines is clearly what’s important in this story.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury on Sunday, poisoned with what British counterterrorism officials say was an unnamed nerve agent. Skripal is a Russian national and former spy who was arrested by the Kremlin for committing espionage against Russia on behalf of Britain. He was released in 2010 during a prisoner exchange.


And while Russian officials have denied any involvement in the poisoning (they’re literally calling it “fake news”), the Russian Embassy in the UK isn’t helping that case. For some reason the Russian Embassy would prefer to be pedantic about the language being used in news headlines.

Was Skripal a “Russian spy” or a “British spy”? Again, Skripal was a Russian national who was sending sensitive information to the British. So technically either description works. Russian officials may not like to refer to him as a Russian spy since he was a traitor to his own country, but he was a Russian military intelligence officer.

Skripal’s older brother died in Russia two years ago and his 43-year-old son died in 2017, reportedly from liver failure. But both deaths are suspicious, according to family members.

The first police officer to respond to the scene of Sergei Skripal’s poisoning was also severely injured by the nerve agent, and while he’s now able to talk, his condition is still very serious. And now there are rumors that Skripal may have been close to people who compiled the infamous Steele Dossier, which outlines the various ways that President Donald Trump could be blackmailed by the Kremlin.


This story keeps getting weirder and weirder. And it’s obviously not done yet, especially with Skripal and his daughter currently clinging to life. But you’ve gotta hand it to the Russian Embassy in the UK. They really know how to push the internet’s buttons. Even when it makes them look like total dicks.


Correction: This post originally stated that Skripal had been poisoned in London. He was poisoned in Salisbury, about 80 miles from London. Gizmodo regrets the error.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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The third world war started when Putin invaded Ukraine. That is how historians will write about this period. It will be scrawled on their bunker walls.