Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Second suspect named in ex-Russian spy poisoning

Second suspect named in ex-Russian spy poisoning

They said they had traveled to Salisbury to admire its Gothic cathedral.

Research by The Associated Press and other media has found apparent links between the GRU and the four men, identified as Alexei Minin, Yevgeny Serebryakov, Alexei Morenets and Oleg Sotnikov.

The Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning, and days after the charges were filed, the two suspects gave an interview to Russian state television in which they claimed to be sports nutritionists.

The site on Monday said the man, who used the alias "Alexander Petrov", was in fact Alexander Mishkin, a trained military doctor employed by Moscow's GRU military intelligence service.

British officials could not be immediately reached Monday evening for comment on the new report, which was prepared by researchers and journalists in Britain and Russian Federation.

The Kremlin has refused to comment on the claim by investigative group Bellingcat that one of the two suspects in the poisoning of an ex-spy in England is a doctor who works for Russian military intelligence.

They both spent weeks in hospital but have since been released.

Higgins and Grozev said that Mishkin was made a Hero of the Russian Federation - the country's highest honorary title - by Putin in the autumn of 2014. Only a few officers each year receive the award, which is typically given personally by President Vladimir Putin.

He told a news conference in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday: "His grandmother with whom he grew up, who happens to be medical professional, has a photograph, in her own words, that has been seen by everybody in the village, of President Putin shaking Mishkin's hand and giving him the award". It published a copy of his passport, which was issued in 2001 in Arkhangelsk region along the White Sea.

The British open-source website said it had identified the suspect using testimonies from people the suspect knew and a scanned copy of his passport.

"During his medical studies, Mishkin was recruited by the GRU, and by 2010 had relocated to Moscow, where he received his undercover identity - including a second national ID and travel passport - under the alias Alexander Petrov", the website said.

Between 2011 and 2018 he travelled extensively under his new identity, Bellingcat said, including making frequent trips to Ukraine.

It added, though, that if information continues to arrive via media - with references to anonymous sources and nongovernmental organizations with alleged ties to secret services - "this will only confirm that the British authorities have no intention to pursue the investigation within the framework of global law".

In response to the incident, London in March expelled 23 Russian diplomats believed to be intelligence agents.

The man, from Russia's military intelligence service the GRU, was reported to have visited Salisbury ahead of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March. Yulia has since issued a written statement and appeared once on camera, saying she hoped to one day return to Russian Federation. And months later, two other British citizens were exposed when they picked up a perfume bottle British authorities say the two assassins had used to transport the nerve agent.

A police officer who responded to the poisoning was also sickened by the nerve agent, Novichok, and survived. One of them, Dawn Sturgess, died.

Like this: