Skripal attack: Second Salisbury suspect 'decorated' officer

Reuters

Amy Kellogg has the story.

The second of two Russians who Britain blames for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was named by investigative website Bellingcat on Monday as a military doctor for Russia's GRU intelligence service.

British authorities charged both last month under their assumed names, saying at the time they thought the Russian men were not who they said they were.

The other suspect also traveled to Salisbury, England, under an alias - Ruslan Boshirov - and is in fact a decorated Russian agent named Anatoliy Chepiga, Bellingcat reported last month. United Kingdom officials says they were poisoned with a nerve agent administered by Russian intelligence officers.

Last month, Bellingcat named the first suspect as Anatoliy Chepiga, a claim also rejected by Russian Federation.

The GRU has also been blamed for a string of cyber attacks targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport.

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The full report, presented by two Bellingcat reporters at Westminster on Tuesday, explained how they had pieced together evidence of the man's identity from scraps of information on the internet, via leaked official databases and using a copy of personal documents, including passport dossiers.

Skripal, a Russian military intelligence officer turned double agent for Britain, and his visiting daughter spent weeks in critical condition after the Salisbury attack.

The father and daughter survived after a lengthy hospital stay in intensive care.

The unmasking of a second Russian intelligence officer suspected of carrying out a nerve-agent attack in England earlier this year is prompting behind-the-scenes fury in the Kremlin, which is likely to respond by purging the senior ranks of Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU, Russian media is reporting. The British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died after unwittingly spraying the novichok on her wrists.

He is believed to have received the award of Hero of the Russian Federation either for his role in the annexation of Crimea in 2014 or the exfiltration of the pro-Moscow former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

Officials in the Netherlands, where the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is based, said four Russians had been expelled after the alleged cyber strike.

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In this file grab taken from CCTV and issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on September 5, 2018, Ruslan Boshirov and "Alexander Petrov" walk on Fisherton Road, Salisbury, England, March 4, 2018.

Mishkin traveled extensively under the name Petrov between 2011 and 2018, including multiple trips to Ukraine and to the self-declared Transnistrian Republic, Bellingcat reported.

For his cover identity he used most of his own details, including his date of birth and first name, and the first names of his parents. For several years he used, inexplicably say analysts, the address of the GRU headquarters as his home address.

Bellingcat said the reporter was not able to talk directly to the grandmother.

Last week, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against seven members of the GRU, accusing them of hacking into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as four worldwide sports governing bodies.

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