'HITMAN' UNMASKED Second Salisbury Novichok suspect named as GRU doctor Alexander Mishkin

The suspect was earlier named as Alexander Petrov with links to the Russian Defence Ministry

09 October 2018 - 08:26

ONE of the two men accused of the Novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia has been named as a doctor in Russia's military intelligence agency.

Dr Alexander Mishkin's true identity was disclosed by the Bellingcat investigative website exactly two weeks after it unmasked his colleague Anatoliy Chepiga.

 Documents are said to prove the identity of Salisbury poisoning suspect Dr Alexander Mishkin
Bellingcat
Documents are said to prove the identity of Salisbury poisoning suspect Dr Alexander Mishkin

The two men are accused of attempting to assassinate Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, with the Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury on March 4.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in a "catatonic state" and spent weeks critically ill in hospital.

Anti-terror police investigated the poisoning and discovered the nerve agent used was military-grade Novichok, made in Russia.

According to information sourced by Bellingcat, Mishkin is a trained military doctor who works undercover for the GRU.

 Official documents confirm that Alexander Petrov is actually Dr Alexander Mishkin
Bellingcat
Official documents confirm that Alexander Petrov is actually Dr Alexander Mishkin

His passport, issued in 2001 in St Petersburg, confirms his real name and his place of birth as  Loyga, a village in the Archangelsk district of northern Russia.

The investigation also discovered that Mishkin studied and graduated from one of Russia’s elite military medical academies, and was trained as a military doctor for the Russian naval armed forces.

During his studies, he was allegedly recruited by the GRU and by 2010 he had relocated to Moscow.

It was there he received his undercover identity – including a second national ID and a travel passport – under the alias Petrov.

 The two suspects were caught smiling as they strolled through Salisbury hours before the attack on the Skripals
SWNS:South West News Service
The two suspects were caught smiling as they strolled through Salisbury hours before the attack on the Skripals

Tory MP Bob Seely, a member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee with a long-standing interest in Russia, said: "It is appalling that a medical doctor appears to have been part of a team of GRU operatives that attempted to deliver a lethal poison to their target - and accidentally killed another person by mistake.

"Whilst this operation has been a botched embarrassment for the Kremlin from beginning to end, it's worth remembering that we may not know about the GRU's successful operations and therefore shouldn't judge the GRU alone by their failures.

"The Government has shown strong resolve thus far, but it is yet more evidence that the UK needs to develop a long-term plan to understand and expose Russian subversion, as well as identifying the steps needed to protect our democracy."

Russia has denied it was involved in the attack, which sparked a diplomatic spat and the expulsion of embassy staff.

Police believe the Mr Skripal and his daughter were exposed to the nerve agent after it was smeared on the front door of his home.

The suspects were caught on CCTV in Salisbury at 11.58am on Sunday March 4, “moments before the attack”, police said.

Petrov and Boshirov stayed in the budget City Stay Hotel in Bow, East London, during their brief visit and took the train to Salisbury two days running.

Cops searching their room on May 4 - almost two months after the attack in Salisbury - are said to have discovered minute traces of Novichok.

Police said the nerve agent was brought into Britain in a Ninna Ricci ‘Premier Jour’ perfume bottle with a specially made poison applicator.

Skripal was a former Russian military intelligence officer who was convicted in 2006 of being a double agent and spying for the United Kingdom.

At the time, he was serving in the Russian Ground Forces and was nicknamed "the Spy with the Louis Vuitton bag" because of his taste for luxury goods.

In 2006 he was released in a spy swap and moved to the UK where he settled in Salisbury.

 Ex-KGB spy Skripal and his daughter Yulia, 33, were exposed to a nerve agent
 
Ex-KGB spy Skripal and his daughter Yulia, 33, were exposed to a nerve agent

Independent chemicals weapons scientists confirmed that "high purity" Novichok was used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) carried out tests that confirmed the nerve agent was found in environmental samples collected in Salisbury.

Blood tests also confirmed that the same chemical was found in blood samples taken from the Skripals and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey - the police officer who first attended the scene.

 Ruslan Boshirov's real name is Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga
 
Ruslan Boshirov's real name is Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga

Just two weeks ago, Bellingcat revealed the identity of the other man suspected of being behind the Novichok poisoning.

The website unmasked Ruslan Boshirov as Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a 39-year-old soldier who served in both Chechnya and Ukraine.

A former Russian officer told Bellingcat that Chepiga's high rank suggested the Novichok hit was ordered "at the highest level".

Using leaked Russian military databases, the Bellingcat team found a passport application which confirmed his identity.

Incredible CCTV footage showed Mishkin and and Chepiga smiling as they strolled through Salisbury on the day of the Sergei Skripal attack.

Novichok was smeared on the door handle of the ex-KGB spy and the nerve agent was later found in a discarded perfume bottle that Charlie Rowley gave to his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess as a present.

She later died after spraying the discarded fragrance on her wrist.

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