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    Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen on CCTV on Wilton Road in Salisbury on March 4, 2018 in an image handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September 5, 2018

    Czech Media Claim Salisbury Case Suspects Spied on Skripal in Country in 2014

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    PRAGUE (Sputnik) - Cesky Rozhlas media reported Wednesday, citing Czech intel sources, that Russian citizens Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov accused by London of poisoning ex-officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, visited the Czech Republic in October 2014, where Skripal himself was supposed to arrive at the same time.

    According to the broadcaster, it looks like "the Russians had a special group" and followed Skripal well before "attempting to kill him."

    The sources cited by the broadcaster said that Skripal visited the Czech Republic to assist local intelligence with the discovery of possible Russian spies in the country. The sources are convinced that Boshirov and Petrov already tracked Skripal at that time, the publication claimed.

    READ MORE: Bellingcat Claims Alleged Salisbury Suspect Bestowed Hero of Russia in 2014

    According to the publication, Petrov lived in a hotel in the city of Ostrava in the country's northeast from October 13 to October 16, 2014, and then moved to Prague, while Boshirov visited Prague on October 11, 2014.

    The broadcaster added that the presence of the two Russian citizens in the Czech Republic was probed both by the local intelligence and the National Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (NCOZ). However, due to the fact that the Skripal case is being under investigation throughout Europe, no one in the Czech Republic commented on this information, including the Czech Security Information Service (BIS) and the NCOZ, the media outlet said.

    Russian Embassy in Prague told the publication that the questions about crossing the border of the Czech Republic by citizens of other states are within the competence of the relevant Czech authorities.

    In early September, UK prosecutors charged Petrov and Boshirov with the attempted murder of the Skripals and UK police officer Nick Bailey in the UK city of Salisbury in March. UK Prime Minister Theresa May expressed a belief that the suspects worked for the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (formerly known as the GRU), albeit without providing any evidence.

    READ MORE: UK Envoy Claims Russia Tried to Compromise Foreign Office After Salisbury Attack

    The same month, Bellingcat claimed that it could "definitely confirm" that Petrov and Boshirov are active GRU officers. Such an assumption was explained by the fact that their internal passports under these names were issued in 2009, while no records allegedly exist for these individuals prior to this year. Later that month, the group in cooperation with The Insider Russia media outlet claimed that they had identified Boshirov as Russian military intelligence colonel Anatoliy Chepiga.

    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.

    Related:

    The Skripal Case: Fifteen Facts and Some Logical Conclusions
    Bellingcat Claims Second Skripal Poisoning Suspect Identified
    Ex-MI5 Officer Sheds Light on 'Narrative' Behind Book on Skripal
    Salisbury Case ‘Problem’ for UK Intelligence, 'The Skripal Files' Author Says
    Tags:
    Skripal case, spying, intelligence, Ruslan Boshirov, Sergei Skripal, Alexander Petrov, Salisbury, Russia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic
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