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Second suspect in U.K. poisoning case is doctor for Russian intelligence, group says

One out of the two suspects in the poisoning of an ex-spy in England is a trained doctor who is working for Russian military intelligence and has traveled to Britain under an alias, investigative group Bellingcat had reported on Monday.

Bellingcat said on its website, the man British authorities has identified as Alexander Petrov is actually Alexander Mishkin, who is a doctor working for the Russian military intelligence unit known as GRU.

Bellingcat said that its “identification process included multiple open sources, testimony from people who are familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents which includes a scanned copy of his passport.”

British officials said that when they brought charges against the two Russians in March for nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, they believed Petrov was the assumed name.

The other suspect had also traveled to Salisbury, England, under an alias — Ruslan Boshirov — and is in real Anatoliy Chepiga, a decorated Russian agent, Bellingcat reported last month.

BBC News reports that London’s Metropolitan Police had declined to comment on “speculation regarding their identities”.

The poisoning of Skripal, a former Russian agent who got convicted of spying for Britain, became a major incident. British authorities said Skripal and Yulia his daughter, were sickened by a Soviet-made nerve agent.

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

The Skripals survived after a long hospital stay in intensive care. But the nerve agent killed Dawn Sturgess, a British woman,  and seriously sickened her partner. British police have said the couple might have been exposed to the substance in June.  There were traces in the bottle that had contained the Novichok which was used to poison the Skripals months earlier.

Mishkin was recruited by the secretive GRU and stationed in Moscow. The investigative group said, he was given the undercover identity of Alexander Petrov there.

Bellingcat said he had gone to Ukraine multiple times. The group said that it will provide forensic evidence and further information on Tuesday about how they went about to identify Mishkin.

Both suspects appeared on Russian TV and denied any link to the Salisbury poisonings. They said they went to the city only to visit its cathedral.



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