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Second poisoning suspect ID’d as military doctor who works for Russian GRU

Second poisoning suspect ID’d as military doctor who works for Russian GRU

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

Investigatory website Bellingcat said a Salisbury suspect identified as Alexander Petrov was actually Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a military doctor working undercover for the GRU.

Mishkin trained as a military doctor before joining the GRU, moving to Moscow in 2010, and being assigned the undercover identity of Alexander Petrov, Bellingcat says, citing both public documents and unnamed sources.

The two suspects in the attempted assassination of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal were originally named by the United Kingdom authorities as Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov - although it was made clear that the names were aliases.

Bellingcat last month identified Boshirov as a colonel in the GRU whose real name was Anatoliy Chepiga.

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

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The unmasking of a second Russian intelligence officer suspected of carrying out a nerve-agent attack in England earlier this year is prompting behind-the-scenes fury in the Kremlin, which is likely to respond by purging the senior ranks of Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU, Russian media is reporting.

He is believed to have received the award of Hero of the Russian Federation either for his role in the annexation of Crimea in 2014 or the exfiltration of the pro-Moscow former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

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.

Both survived after weeks in critical condition, but Dawn Sturgess, a woman who authorities said came in contact with the poison after her boyfriend found a fake perfume bottle containing it, died in July.

Last week, Dutch and British authorities revealed a four-man GRU team attempted earlier this year to hack the computers in the Netherlands of the world's chemical weapons watchdog.

"This was also not a rogue operation". The two men had previously claimed to be Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, sports nutritionists with a passion for gothic-style cathedrals.

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For his cover identity he used most of his own details, including his date of birth and first name, and the first names of his parents.

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

British Security Minister Ben Wallace warned Tuesday against underestimating Russian espionage.

It claims he was recruited by Russian intelligence while he was completing his medical studies, and made several trips to Ukraine, including during the 2013 unrest.

'But we should not underestimate them nor indeed the risky and reckless use of nerve agent on our streets.

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