Second suspect in Skripal poisoning identified: Research group

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Second suspect in Skripal poisoning identified: Research group

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Researchers from investigative collective Bellingcat claim they have identified the second suspect involved in the Skripal poisoning case.

Bellingcat, who worked with Russian news organisation The Insider, identified the man as Alexander Mishkin, a doctor working for the Russian GRU intelligence service.

Together with another suspect, earlier identified by Bellingcat to be Anatoliy Chepiga, Mishkin travelled to the British town Salisbury in March 2018 and allegedly poisoned former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

According to Bellingcat, Mishkin was born in the Archangelsk District in northern Russia.

He was recruited by the GRU while at one of Russia’s military medical academies, eventually becoming a military doctor. 

“Until early September 2014, Mishkin’s registered home address in Moscow was Khoroshevskoe Shosse 76B – the address of the headquarters of the GRU,” Bellingcat’s investigation concluded.

The intelligence service provided Mishkin with a new identity and corresponding paperwork.

Using this identity, Alexander Petrov, travelled extensively to several European countries including Ukraine and Moldova.

In March 2018, he travelled to the UK with someone called Anatoliy Chepiga, who used documents proclaiming he was called Ruslan Boshirov.

There, they allegedly poisoned Skripal, who was a former Russian intelligence officer turned double agent, using a rare chemical nerve agent called Novichok.

Following the poisoning, both Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia spent several weeks in a hospital, but both ultimately survived.

Last month, the UK charged the two Russians with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder.

“Based on the body of intelligence, the government has concluded that the two individuals named by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU,” British Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament at the time.

“This was also not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state,” she said.

Russia has denied any involvement in the case and has claimed the two Russians were in Salisbury on a tourist trip.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin again denied involvement in the poisoning, but he branded the former spy “a traitor” and “scumbag”.

Bellingcat is a group of researchers who mostly use open source information to verify information.

They have previously published investigations about chemical attacks in Syria and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

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