Guardian foreign correspondent Luke Harding on holding power to account and challenging the rise of fake news

A retired spy and his daughter are found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury. Someone tried to kill them. The poison is novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. Six months later Theresa May says the would-be assassins are officers with Russian military intelligence. They travelled to the UK as “Alexander Petrov” and “Ruslan Boshirov”.

Not true, says Moscow. Last month the two men appeared on RT, the Kremlin’s external propaganda channel. They denied having anything to do with the bungled attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Yes, they visited Salisbury twice. But they came in March to see the city’s wonderful cathedral and turned back the first time because of heavy ‘slush’ …

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