Second Skripal poisoning suspect revealed as 'Russian doctor'

The passport of Alexander Mishkin who had been named as Alexander Petrov

Image The passport of Alexander Mishkin who had been named as Alexander Petrov

When Bellingcat researchers started looking into the men accused of using the Soviet-developed Novichok to attack Sergei Skripal and his daughter, they had little to work with - only photographs of the suspects released by British police and the assumed names that they used to travel to England. Amy Kellogg has the story.

The suspect previously known as Alexander Petrov is actually Dr. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a trained military doctor employed as an undercover officer for Russian military intelligence, known as GRU, citizen journalism agency Bellingcat reported.

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.

The British website has scooped the rest of the media with its reports on the nerve agent attack that almost killed the ex-spy and his daughter in England, providing evidence the Russians had identities far more intriguing than the aliases they used as supposed tourists.

Last month, Bellingcat named the first suspect as Anatoliy Chepiga, a claim also rejected by Russian Federation.

BRITAIN'S security minister has warned against underestimating Russian Federation, insisting the Kremlin is still intent on carrying out attacks on Britain and its allies - including cyber warfare, disinformation and assassinations.

As with Chepiga, Bellingcat said it had identified Mishkin by obtaining his personal documents from anonymous sources and tracing his background through open source records, as well as testimonies from people who knew him.

The second suspect in the attempted poisoning of a former Russian secret agent has been identified by an investigative website.

The Bellingcat report says Mishkin, the doctor it said works for Russian intelligence, was born in 1979 in the Archangelsk District in northern Russia and graduated from the elite Military Medical Academies, where he was trained for medical work in the Russian navy. The British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died after unwittingly spraying the novichok on her wrists.

According to Bellingcat, Mishkin was born in July 1979 in the village of Loyga in northern Russian Federation.

Bellingcat said he made multiple trips to Ukraine.

His GRU rank was unknown, it added.

The details about Dr Mishkin came less than a fortnight after Bellingcat outed Mr Chepiga, who is also a GRU officer.

Officials in the Netherlands, where the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is based, said four Russians had been expelled after the alleged cyber strike.

Curiously, Mishkin's cover identity retained a lot of his authentic biography, including his real birth-date, his first and patronymic names, and the first names of his parents.

Bellingcat cross-referenced this information with other leaked databases, including a vehicle insurance database which identified the same man as the driver of a Volvo registered to the GRU headquarters.

Last week, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against seven members of the GRU, accusing them of hacking into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as four global sports governing bodies.

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