Italian newspaper La Stampa reported that Russia’s group of military doctors and experts most certainly included GRU intelligence officers, in other words spies.
This followed reports by the same newspaper that the Russian aid sent to Italy was largely “useless,” but apparently it didn’t have enough friction, so something more popular is needed, to remind the public that “evil GRU agents” exist and they’re closer than Italians would think.
Russia has sent 104 individuals to assist Italy.
“Without a doubt, there are GRU officers among them,” former NATO chemical weapons expert Hamish De Bretton-Gordon told the paper.
It should be noted that they asked a “chemical weapons expert” and he’s British, after all, London has quite a bit of experience in revealing GRU agents, after the entire fiasco that the Sergey Skripal investigation turned into.
The Russian Defense Ministry accused the Italian paper of “hiding behind the ideals of free speech” to spread stories reminiscent of “anti-Soviet propaganda.”
Then, the Italian government commented in response to the Russian Defense ministry’s statement.
“While grateful for Russia’s support, one cannot but criticize the inappropriate tone of certain expressions used by the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman,” the government said in a statement.
“Freedom of expression and the right to criticize are fundamental values of our country,” it said.
It noted that Russia had “the right to respond (to the allegations), but in a formal and correct manner.”
Then, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded.
talians near Milan “met the Russian column of trucks with applause, singing the Russian national anthem,” ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said.
Zakharova’s briefing was the following:
“The Italian newspaper Stampa has already distinguished itself by a number of articles with direct slander regarding Russia’s rendering humanitarian aid to Italy. The other day it published another fake in order to completely distort the actions of Russia in connection with the sanitary-epidemiological crisis in Italy.
Referring to dubious sources (if any), the publication publicly announced the allegedly sequestered cargo of Russia and provided completely incorrect information.
Of course, we have responded at the level of the Russian Embassy and will continue to respond.
In response to this stuffing, it was possible to establish an intermediary – the Giosar company registered in London, whose representative categorically refused to provide any information about the transaction, which was mentioned in the article, and to answer relevant questions, including regarding the location, cost and characteristics of the cargo , as well as its sender and recipient.
When they started to understand, it turned out that this was a purely commercial operation, which some foreign structures tried to organize according to an opaque scheme. At the same time, the Russian authorities were not informed in advance about this supply and had no relation to it. All this is served by the Stampa newspaper in the context of Russia’s humanitarian efforts.
I think it has already become clear to everyone that some traders, in search of profit, are apparently trying to use problems, trouble, and in this case, the tragedy of Italy. We will stop this misinformation and do it tough, on a regular basis.”
Then, La Stampa, published another report, apologizing and expressing its surprise over the Russian comments.
“”Qui fodit foveam, incidet in eam (whoever digs a pit will end up in it sooner or later).” An authentic intimidation that once again confirms – if ever there was a need – the tools with which Russia controls information, and beyond. But above all the unacceptable attempt to export these methods beyond their borders, in our country, in Europe. A fact that risks becoming a serious precedent if our government does not ask for immediate clarifications. And above all the necessary apology,” La Stampa said.
“Our articles have raised questions — both from Italians and others — about the possible presence of intelligence officers in the Russian mission,” La Stampa further said.
But the paper said it still thought Russia was “demonstrating friendship and solidarity at a moment of great difficulty” for Italy.
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