Second Salisbury suspect unmasked - both alleged to work for Russia's secret service

Saul Bowman
October 10, 2018

The Bellingcat journalist investigations website last night named Alexander Mishkin, a 39-year-old military doctor working for Russia's GRU intelligence service, as one of the two men who had travelled to Britain in March to try to murder Sergei Skripal, the former Russian double agent. Amy Kellogg has the story.

"He studied and graduated from one of Russia's elite Military Medical Academies, and was trained as a military doctor for the Russian naval armed forces", Bellingcat says, adding that the GRU recruited him while he was studying medicine and by 2010 had relocated to Moscow, where he received a national ID and travel passport under the alias Alexander Petrov.

The suspect identified as Petrov was actually Dr Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, the Bellingcat group said.

Mishkin had travelled to the United Kingdom under the assumed name Alexander Petrov with another Russian agent Anatoliy Chepiga, who came on the false identity of Ruslan Boshirov. United Kingdom officials says they were poisoned with a nerve agent administered by Russian intelligence officers.

The other suspect also travelled to Salisbury, England, under an alias - Ruslan Boshirov - but is a decorated Russian agent named Anatoliy Chepiga, Bellingcat reported last month. The Kremlin has maintained variously that the Skripal poisoning never happened, that it was carried out by the British spies in order to blame Russian Federation or that murky third parties were responsible.

The second man believed to be behind a nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England, has been identified as a Russian military doctor.

Recent failings by Russian military intelligence (GRU) have made it easy to laugh at its spies but the West should not underestimate the skills of the Kremlin's once mighty espionage services, Britain's Security Minister said on Tuesday. Skripal and his daughter Yulia narrowly survived the attack, but a local woman, Dawn Sturgess later died after being accidentally exposed to the chemical weapon.

The names on the pair's travel documents were Ruslan Boshirov (on the left above) and Alexander Petrov (on the right).

'Interestingly, we have not seen her because the moment we announced this press conference today, the grandmother was asked to visit her children - Mr Mishkin's father and mother - in another town so she vanished from the village three days ago, ' he said.

Officials in the Netherlands, where the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is based, said four Russians had been expelled after the alleged cyber strike.

The details about Dr Mishkin came less than a fortnight after Bellingcat outed Mr Chepiga, who is also a GRU officer.

Until early September 2014, Mishkin's registered home address in Moscow was Khoroshevskoe Shosse 76B - the address of the headquarters of the GRU. Bellingcat has identified multiple trips to Ukraine and to the self-declared Transnistrian Republic, the last of which as late as during the Maidan events in Kyiv in December 2013. Last week the U.S. Department of Justice indicted seven named GRU officers on charges they had hacked global organizations, including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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