Skripal attack: second Russian Salisbury poisoning suspect identified
Investigative website claims suspect is a military doctor with Russian GRU
An investigative website has published information claiming that it has “conclusively identified” the second Russian behind the alleged Novichok nerve agent poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March.
The Bellingcat website has named the second suspect, who travelled to the UK under the alias Alexander Petrov, as “Dr Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a trained military doctor in the employ of the GRU”.
The website says it has made the conclusion based on “multiple open sources, testimony from people familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents, including a scanned copy of [Mishkin’s] passport”.
Among the evidence Bellingcat has so far reported on Mishkin’s identity is the claim that until September 2014, his official home address in Moscow was Khoroshevskoe Shosse 76B – the address of the headquarters of the GRU.
Bellingcat and its reporting partner the Insider had previously publicly identified the first suspect as GRU Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, a recipient of Russia’s highest state award, who had travelled to the UK under the alias Ruslan Boshirov.
BBC analysis says it took longer for Bellingcat to identify Mishkin as he had an “even sparser digital footprint than the first man to be named” – however the ease of the identification of the two suspects has angered Vladimir Putin, and “a purge [inside the GRU] could be on the way”.
Bellingcat is due to release a full report at a press conference at the House of Commons later today, and is set to publish a more complete report, including interviews with witnesses who knew Mishkin, both in St Petersburg and his home village of Loyga, this afternoon.
The Guardian says Mishkin’s identification is “another astonishing development in the Skripal story”, and further cements claims by the UK government that Moscow staged “an attempted murder on British territory”.