14:11 GMT06 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UK-based investigative blogger group Bellingcat, which has previously issued unfounded materials, on Monday published a story alleging that Alexander Petrov, a suspect in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, was "in fact" a military doctor called Alexander Mishkin.

    "Bellingcat can now report that it has conclusively identified the second suspect, who traveled to Salisbury under the alias Alexander Petrov. In its previous reporting, we already produced evidence that ‘Alexander Petrov’ is not an authentic persona, but an undercover alias for an officer of a Russian security agency … We have now identified 'Alexander Petrov' to be in fact Dr. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a trained military doctor in the employ of the GRU," the group said.

    Bellingcat claims that Mishkin was born on July 13, 1979 in the Russian northern Arkhangelsk Region and was recruited by GRU during his medical studies. By 2010, he had allegedly been relocated to Moscow, where he "received his undercover identity," the group claimed.

    The allegations come as yet another part of the Bellingcat investigation into the suspects of the Skripal poisoning case. The first part was issued on September 14, where the group claimed that the suspects were linked to Russian security services. Such an assumption was explained by the fact that their internal passport under the names of Petrov and Boshirov were issued in 2009, while no records allegedly exist for these individuals prior to this year.

    The second part of the investigation was released on September 20, with the group claiming that it could "definitely confirm" that "both 'Alexander Petrov' and 'Ruslan Boshirov' are active GRU officers."

    Russian Deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov has said that "the Directorate of the Federal Migration Service has no departments that were subordinates of the GRU or someone else." He added that it was impossible to understand whether a person works in the GRU just by looking at the migration service’s database. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, has also criticized the materials issued by Bellingcat.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the Skripal affair was falling apart due to the lack of evidence proving Russian involvement. The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent some 60 diplomatic notes to the UK Foreign Office demanding that Russia be given access to the investigation and the injured Russian citizens, as well as requesting legal assistance and proposing cooperation, including on the joint inquiry. The UK authorities have not responded to any of these notes.

    READ MORE: Ex-MI5 Officer Sheds Light on 'Narrative' Behind Book on Skripal

    On September 5, the UK prosecutors charged Russian citizens Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov with attempted murder of Skripal and his daughter as well as police officer Nick Bailey. In an interview with the RT broadcaster and Sputnik, Petrov and Boshirov said that they had visited Salisbury, but emphasized that they knew nothing about the Skripals and worked in the fitness industry. According to Boshirov, Salisbury is a tourist city with a famous cathedral. Petrov and Boshirov told RT and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan that they wanted to see the sights — the Salisbury Cathedral and Old Sarum. In late September, Bellingcat in cooperation with The Insider Russia media outlet claimed that they had identified Boshirov as Russian military intelligence colonel Anatoliy Chepiga.

    READ MORE: Skripal Refused to Move to US Under New Identity, New Book Claims


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    poisoning, investigation, identity, Bellingcat, Ruslan Boshirov, Sergei Skripal, Alexander Petrov, United Kingdom
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