Second suspect in poisoning of ex-Russian spy named


The second of two Russians who Britain blames for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was named by investigative website Bellingcat on Monday as a military doctor for Russia's GRU intelligence service.

The man, who used the alias Alexander Petrov to travel to the United Kingdom, was unmasked as a trained military doctor employed by the GRU - Russia's military intelligence agency.

Bellingcat said its "identification process included multiple open sources, testimony from people familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents, including a scanned copy of his passport".

Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, 39, used the alias Alexander Petrov, which includes his real first name and also put down his actual date of birth and his parents' names, it emerged last night.

"While Aleksandr Mishkin's true persona has an even sparser digital footprint than Anatoly Chepiga's, Bellingcat has been able to establish certain key facts from his background", the October 8 report said.

British prosecutors charged Mr Petrov and another man they named as Ruslan Boshirov with attempted murder for the Novichok nerve agent attack on the Skripals in the English city of Salisbury in March, but said they believed the suspects had used aliases to enter Britain.

Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March. They were found unconscious on a bench outside the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury.

More news: Columbus' Columbus Day: From AmeriFlora '92 to its cancellation

It said that Mishkin was born in 1979 in the Archangelsk region in Northern European Russia and was trained as a military doctor for the Russian naval armed forces at one of Russia's elite military medical schools. However, based on the known rank as of graduation from the Military Medical Academy (Russian military doctors graduate with a rank of senior lieutenant), and the elapsed time (15 years), it can be posited that as the time of the Skripals' poisoning incident he was either a Lt. Colonel or a full Colonel.

London's Metropolitan Police declined to comment on "speculation regarding their identities", BBC News reports.

There, they allegedly poisoned Skripal, who was a former Russian intelligence officer turned double agent, using a rare chemical nerve agent called Novichok.

Until September 2014, Dr Mishkin's registered home address was Khoroshevskoe Shosse 76B - the Moscow headquarters of GRU.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was likely ordered at the highest levels of the Russian government, an allegation vehemently rejected by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin on October 3 said that Skripal was a "scumbag" who had betrayed his country.