The identity of the second suspect in the case of the attempted nerve agent poisoning of defected spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, has reportedly been revealed.
A man named as a suspect by British authorities, Alexander Petrov, is likely Dr. Alexander Mishkin, a doctor for Russian military intelligence, commonly known by its Russian acronym, GRU — that’s according to a Bellingcat report that has been investigating the identities of two men allegedly linked to the March poisoning case.
The Crown Prosecution Service announced charges for the poisoning against two men, Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, on Sept. 5. Reports claim they were seen on security cameras throughout the town and police further investigated based on their timing and location on the day of the poisoning, March 4. Petrov and Boshirov came and left England with legitimate passports and U.K. authorities did not push for extradition, instead leveling an accusation of attempted political assassination on the Russian government.
But Petrov and Boshirov reportedly don’t exist.
Bellingcat has attempted to prove the identity of both men by speaking to personal acquaintances and pulling military records, passport records and photographs. Bellingcat reported the identity of Boshirov on Sept. 24 to be GRU Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga after trying to prove the aliases “Ruslan Boshirov” and “Alexander Petrov” did not exist, or at least, that they had no history before the issuance of their passports.
Mishkin and Col. Anatoliy Chepiga, however, do exist. Both reportedly work for the GRU, the descendant agency of the Soviet-era KGB. Both have also received the “Hero of Russia Award” for their service, according to Bellingcat. Besides physical resemblances of these GRU agents, the men Bellingcat accuses of entering England under the aliases “Ruslan Boshirov” and “Alexander Petrov” both shared Russian passport markings that indicate government work and secrecy, such as redacted biographical information. (RELATED: Russian Intel Officers Charged In Hacking And Disinformation Scheme)
Since the accusations, Boshirov and Petrov both appeared on Russian state-run news outlet, Russian Television, and Russian President Vladimir Putin called the two “civilians, not criminals.” The Kremlin’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, called English accusations “hysteria” in September.
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