Bellingcat: Second Novichok Suspect Also Honored By Putin As 'Hero Of Russia'

Skripal poisoning Website reveals second suspect’s identity says he is Russian military doctor

Second suspect in poisoning of ex-Russian spy named

British authorities allege that the two Russians smeared a Soviet-designed nerve agent called Novichok on the front door of Skripal's home in the English city of Salisbury on March 4, the day the former spy and his daughter were found incapacitated on a bench and rushed to the hospital.

"He studied and graduated from one of Russia's elite Military Medical Academies, and was trained as a military doctor for the Russian naval armed forces", Bellingcat says, adding that the GRU recruited him while he was studying medicine and by 2010 had relocated to Moscow, where he received a national ID and travel passport under the alias Alexander Petrov.

Bellingcat said it gathered its information from open sources and "testimony from people familiar with the person".

Last month Bellingcat said it had identified the first suspect, originally identified under the name Ruslan Boshirov, as Anatoliy Chepiga and obtained leaked files that show Chepiga was deployed to Chechnya three times and included old passport photos of his, which resemble the man British authorities named as Boshirov.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "I already told you last week that we won't continue any discussions on (reports) of media channels and various civil research organisations".

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Bellingcat said that the man British authorities identified as Alexander Petrov is actually Alexander Mishkin, a trained doctor working for the Russian military intelligence unit known as GRU.

Mr Wallace was speaking as the second suspect in the Salisbury nerve agent attack was revealed to be a highly decorated officer in Russian military intelligence.

Bellingcat became a thorn in the Kremlin's side by detailing its alleged crimes during the wars in Syria and Ukraine.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was likely ordered at the highest levels of the Russian government, an allegation vehemently rejected by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the Bellingcat report, Mishkin was born in 1979 and grew up in the Arkhangelsk region in northern Russian Federation in a small town of 1,000 people called Loyga.

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Bellingcat said it sought out hundreds of Mishkin's fellow graduates at the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg, and that two remembered Mishkin, but they said that all members of the class had been contacted recently and told not to speak about him.

Police officers stand outside the house of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England, March 6, 2018. The authenticity and veracity of the documents, which Bellingcat claimed it got from a Russian database, could not be immediately verified.

"We shouldn't also forget that there was a 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".

Higgins noted that Mishkin's home village is snowbound for much of the year.

The newest report from Bellingcat is the latest in a recent surge of embarrassing exposures for the GRU.

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"This was also not a rogue operation". Last week the U.S. Department of Justice indicted seven named GRU officers on charges they had hacked global organizations, including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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