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Skripal poisoning suspect identified as Russian intelligence officer

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skripal poisoning ruslan boshirov
Ruslan
Boshirov, one of the men accused of poisoning former Russian spy
Sergei Skripal in March, was identified by

London Metropolitan Police

  • The UK accused two Russian men, Alexander Petrov and
    Ruslan Boshriov, of poisoning a former Russian spy in England
    earlier this year.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the two
    men were civilians. Petrov and Boshirov also claimed they
    visited the UK as tourists.
  • But investigative site Bellingcat on Wednesday
    identified one of the suspects as Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a
    high-ranking intelligence official in Russia.
  • Bellingcat’s findings destroy Moscow’s claims that the
    suspects are civilians, and bolster the UK’s claim that they
    acted on the orders of the Russian government.
  • Russia’s Foreign Ministry called the latest findings “a
    new portion of fake news.”

One of the men accused of poisoning a former Russian spy in
England has been identified as a high-ranking of Russia’s
intelligence service.

The UK in early September accused two Russian men,
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov
, of attempting to
assassinate Sergei Skripal with military-grade nerve agent in
Salisbury earlier this year. Prime Minister Theresa May said the
names were likely aliases.

Russian President Vladimir Putin — whose government has long
denied knowledge of the attack — initially claimed that the two
suspects’
names “mean nothing to us,”
and then
that the two men were civilians
.

Petrov and Boshirov also appeared on Russian TV to say that they
were
visiting Salisbury as tourists
.

But
according to the investigative site Bellingcat
, Boshirov is
actually Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly-decorated officer
with the GRU, Russia’s intelligence service.

Chepiga was assigned the alter ego “Ruslan Boshirov” in 2010,
Bellingcat said. This was the name used in his passport when he
traveled to the UK earlier this year.


skripal poisoning suspects cctv
Surveillance
camera footage of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov in
Salisbury on the day Sergei Skripal collapsed.

London Metropolitan Police

Bellingcat said in a Wednesday post that it confirmed Chepiga’s
identity after speaking to multiple unnamed sources familiar to
Chepiga and the investigation.

Throughout his career, 39-year-old Chepiga had been given
multiple rewards for his services, including the title of Hero of
the Russian Federation — the highest award in the state,
typically handed out to a handful of people in a secret ceremony
by the president himself, according to the
BBC
.

The award was confirmed by
Chepiga’s military school, the Far Eastern Higher Military
Command School.

This suggests that Putin was aware of Chepiga’s identity — which
destroys his claim that he didn’t know who Boshirov and his
partner were.


skripal putin
A composite image of former Russian spy Skripal, who
was poisoned earlier this year, and Russian President Vladimir
Putin.

AP/BBC
Newsnight


Bellingcat’s findings also cast doubt on Russia’s claims that
Boshirov and Petrov were civilians, and that the government had
no knowledge of the Skripal attack.

The findings are also in line with the British government’s claim
earlier this month, citing security and intelligence agencies’
investigations, that Boshirov and Petrov were officers from
Russia’s intelligence services.

Prime Minister May also said that authorization for the attack on
Skripal and his daughter “almost certainly” came from the
senior levels of the Russian government.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry,
called Bellingcat’s findings “a new portion of fake
news.” The Kremlin has
repeatedly denied knowledge of the Skripal attack
.

Zakharova said
on Facebook
, according to a
translation
by state-run Sputnik news agency: “There is no
evidence, so they [the UK] continue the information campaign, the
main task of which is to divert attention from the main question:
‘What happened in Salisbury?'”

The UK has put out international arrest warrants on the two men,
the London Metropolitan Police confirmed in a statement to
Business Insider. However, Russia does not extradite its own
nationals, according to the BBC.

The UK Foreign Office and the London Metropolitan Police
declined to comment on Bellingcat’s findings.

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