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Skripal poisoning suspect is Russian doctor who works for military intel

Skripal poisoning suspect is Russian doctor who works for military intel

United Kingdom officials says they were poisoned with a nerve agent administered by Russian intelligence officers.

The suspect was named yesterday by the Bellingcat investigative website as Alexander Mishkin, a military doctor in the GRU intelligence agency.

The group said it identified Mishkin through passport information, residents' databases, auto registration records and phone records, as well as personal testimony from people who know him.

Bellingcat alleges Mishkin traveled under the name Alexander Petrov when he and GRU Col. Anatoliy Chepiga traveled to the southern English city of Salisbury in March, where the agents allegedly poisoned the Skripals with the nerve agent, novichok.

London police said they would not comment on speculation about the real identities of the two men facing charges, in response to a query about the latest Bellingcat report, and repeated they believed the men had used aliases.

Bellingcat named him as Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, 39, who was charged by Britain last month under the name of Alexander Petrov.

In another instalment of its running coverage about the two men London calls the Salisbury poisoning suspects, the open-source investigators claim they managed to "conclusively" establish what they describe as the real identity of Petrov. Like Chepiga, Bellingcat said, in 2014 Mishkin received a Hero of the Russian Federation award, which is presented by presidential decree.

"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.

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

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the attack and previously dismissed photos linking Chepiga to the GRU, but issued no comment when asked about the findings released about Dr Mishkin.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the Kremlin wouldn't discuss investigative reports and media articles on the Skripal poisoning.

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

Using these details and searching through leaked databases of Russian housing and other records, researchers from Bellingcat were able to find a match, first tracing Mishkin to the St. Petersburg military academy where he studied.

"We shouldn't also forget that there was a very big effort made by our police and MI5 to spot them in the first place, track their movements and also. the huge effort that went in to develop the intelligence that helped guide us to the door of the GRU itself". The researchers said multiple residents in Mishkin's home village, Loyga, had confirmed a photograph of the suspect "Petrov" was in fact Mishkin. In another report, Bellingcat established that "Petrov" was specifically working for Russia's military intelligence, the GRU.

The attack on the Skripals has focused global attention on the GRU, an intelligence unit that Western officials say is linked to computer hacking and other covert operations around the world.


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