Second Skripal poisoning suspect identified by Bellingcat | News | DW | 09.10.2018
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Second Skripal poisoning suspect identified by Bellingcat

An open source investigation has identified the second suspect in the Salisbury poisoning as Russian military doctor Alexander Mishkin. Despite the compelling evidence, Russia has rejected claims that he is a GRU agent.

The second Russian suspected of the attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal was a military doctor for Russia's military intelligence agency GRU, investigative group Bellingcat said Tuesday.

"Bellingcat can now report that it has conclusively identified the second suspect, who traveled to Salisbury under the alias Alexander Petrov," Bellingcat said.

The group said the real name of the man identified by UK prosecutors as Alexander Petrov was in fact Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin.

Mishkin was awarded Russia's highest state award by President Vladimir Putin, likely for activities "either in Crimea or in relation to [former Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovich," Bellingcat said citing witness testimony from the suspect's hometown.

'Our local boy'

Bellingcat exhausted open source material, leaked passport archives, vehicle registration and insurance databases and more to discovery Mishkin's identity.

"For final validation of our amassed findings, Bellingcat's Russian investigative partner, The Insider, sent a reporter to the village of Loyga," the research group said.

"The reporter was able to meet and talk to many residents, who all recognized 'Alexander Petrov,' the person shown on photographs released by the British police and seen in the RT interview, as 'our local boy' Alexander Mishkin."

Passport of Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin Passport

Bellingcat have identified the second Russian suspect in the Skripal poisoning as Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a military doctor working for Russia's GRU

'Amateurish'

Ben De Jong, an expert on Russian intelligence activities at the University of Amsterdam, told DW that the latest bungles were a blow to the GRU.

"It's definitely a step back for the GRU and also for other Russian services," De Jong said. "Not only because all these names have become known, but also because they have been shown to be almost amateurish in many ways, in the way they carried out their operations."

Approval from highest authorities: UK

Bellingcat last month identified the first Russian suspected of the nerve agent attack on the Skripals as Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated colonel of the GRU. Prosecutors have identified him as Ruslan Boshirov, which is said to be an alias.

The two men have denied the accusations, saying they visited Salisbury as tourists to see its cathedral. Speaking on the Russian state-funded RT channel last month, the duo said they work in the nutritional supplements business.

The UK says the two had approval from the highest authorities in Russia, a charge that Moscow has rejected.

Bellingcat said Mishkin was born in July 1979 in the village of Loyga in the Arkhangelsk district of northern Russia. It added that until September 2014 his registered home address in Moscow was the same as the headquarters of the GRU.

ap,ls /rt (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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