Skripal poisoning suspect is Russian doctor who works for military intel

Lamar Ellis
October 11, 2018

Amy Kellogg has the story.

The investigative reporting website Bellingcat identified Mishkin, 39, and said he worked for Russia's GRU intelligence service.

Mishkin had travelled to the United Kingdom under the assumed name Alexander Petrov with another Russian agent Anatoliy Chepiga, who came on the false identity of Ruslan Boshirov. British officials said when they brought charges in the March nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter that they believed Petrov was an assumed name.

The website had earlier identified Ruslan Boshirov, the first suspect, as the GRU's Anatoliy Chepiga.

One of the Bellingcat team who ID'd the two GRU agents points out that the inclusion of a doctor on a 2-man team makes it harder to claim these guys were doing something other than handling a deadly nerve agent. Skripal and his daughter Yulia narrowly survived the attack, but a local woman, Dawn Sturgess later died after being accidentally exposed to the chemical weapon.

He said: "It's easy to laugh at some of the GRU's poor tradecraft and their ability, but we should not underestimate them, nor indeed the risky and reckless use of nerve agent on our streets".

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.

Investigative journalists said Monday they had uncovered the identity of the second Russian man accused of poisoning former Moscow spy Sergei Skripal.

Authorities also accuse the GRU of sustained efforts to breach the computer systems of global and national anti-doping agencies, the International Olympic Committee and soccer's Federation Internationale de Football Association.

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Incomplete border crossing data obtained by the site suggests that he travelled to the country on multiple occasions between 2010 and 2013, using his undercover persona of Alexander Petrov.

Villagers said Mishkin's grandmother has a photo of him being honored by Putin.

Bellingcat says it "conclusively identified" Mishkin from "multiple open sources, testimony from people familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents", including his passport.

Last month, the two suspects appeared on Russian television and claimed they had visited Salisbury as tourists to see the city's famous cathedral, only to be thwarted by slush and snow.

The "Petrov" passport noted the man had a previous passport issued in St Petersburg, and Bellingcat found just one match in St Petersburg databases for a man with the same first name and birth date: Mishkin.

A spokesman for the Home Office said "we are not commenting as this is still a police investigation".

"The findings of this investigation by Bellingcat add possibly material context to the mission of the two GRU officers to Salisbury", the report concluded. In another report, Bellingcat established that "Petrov" was specifically working for Russia's military intelligence, the GRU. For several years he used, inexplicably say analysts, the address of the GRU headquarters as his home address.

Dr Alexander Mishkin goes by the alias "Alexander Petrov".

Last week, authorities in the Netherlands alleged that the GRU had tried and failed to hack the world's chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

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