Friday, May 19, 2023

Atlantic Council Says Its Scholar Possibly Poisoned by Russian Intelligence

This week the Atlantic Council said that John Herbst, Senior Director of the think tank's Eurasia Center, may have been poisoned by Russian intelligence officers.

Here is more from an Atlantic Council statement:

Though Ambassador Herbst has recovered to full health, in April 2021 he grew ill and experienced symptoms that could have been consistent with poisoning, including elevated levels of toxins in his blood. Medical professionals treated Ambassador Herbst effectively at the time but could not definitively conclude there was poisoning involved. 

The Atlantic Council worked with federal law enforcement on this matter, who later also took a blood sample from Ambassador Herbst, and the lab results failed to detect toxic compounds. “The health and safety of our staff is the highest priority,” said Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. “We were in touch with authorities immediately at the time of Ambassador Herbst’s illness, but due to the results of the test we decided not to make the incident public.” 

Ambassador Herbst and the Eurasia Center, working alongside other colleagues at the Atlantic Council, have been among the leading voices in the United States analyzing and responding to Russia’s threats to the United States and Ukraine, including its ongoing war, and advocating for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and freedom. 


Herbst was US Ambassador to Ukraine from 2003-2006.  His think tank work can be found here.

Russia has previously made known its disdain for Atlantic Council, and back in 2019 it blacklisted the think tank, saying that the activities of the organization "pose a fundamental threat to the constitutional order and security" of Russia.