Second suspect in nerve agent attack identified: reports
PR dla Zagranicy
A second suspect has been identified in a probe into a nerve agent attack in England, according to investigative network Bellingcat and British public broadcaster BBC.
A police forensic tent covers the bench where the Skripals were found in a catatonic state. Photo: Peter Curbishley/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
Bellingcat identified the man as Alexander Mishkin, who worked under the alias Alexander Petrov. Bellingcat said he was an agent of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and that he was recruited by the organisation while studying medicine.
Bellingcat said that "Petrov" had visited Ukraine a number of times, including during times of increased tension with Russia ahead of Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
The website previously identified the other suspect as GRU Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, saying he had travelled to Salisbury in southern England under the alias Ruslan Boshirov.
Both suspects have denied involvement in the attack in Salisbury, a picturesque cathedral city near the famous ancient ruins of Stonehenge.
Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found in a catatonic state in Salisbury on March 4 after being poisoned with Novichok.
They both spent weeks in hospital but have since been released.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the attack on Skripal.
In response to the incident, London in March expelled 23 Russian diplomats believed to be intelligence agents.
Poland expelled four Russian diplomats as part of a coordinated international response to the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
But the Kremlin has denied “absurd” allegations of Russian involvement, Russia's TASS news agency reported.
Four months later, a British mother of two died after being exposed to the same nerve agent of Russian or Soviet origin used in the attempt to assassinate Skripal.
Forty-four-year-old Dawn Sturgess collapsed in an apartment in Amesbury, near the site of the attack on Skripal.
A 45-year-old man, Charlie Rowley, was exposed to Novichok together with Sturgess and spent about a month in hospital.
Police in June said they suspected Sturgess and Rowley may have touched a contaminated item left over from the Skripal attack. (vb/pk)