Novichok poisoning suspect celebrated as hero in home village

12 Octobre, 2018, 16:23 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Col Skripal 67 and his daughter Yulia 33 were exposed to the military grade nerve agent novichok but both survived the assassination attempt

In another instalment of its running coverage about the two men London calls the Salisbury poisoning suspects, the open-source investigators claim they managed to "conclusively" establish what they describe as the real identity of Petrov.

Bellingcat, which based its probe on passport information, residents' databases, auto registration documents and phone records, determined that the 39-year-old Mishkin grew up in Loyga before moving to St Petersburg, where he studied medicine at the elite Kirov Military Medical Academy.

"To be absolutely certain, we actually had digital analysis done of the photographs that were publicly released before, and the ones we found, which again confirmed it was the same person".

Bellingcat said the man was identified after "multiple sources familiar with Mishkin, both in St. Petersburg and in his native Loyga" identified him. It said that he too had received Russia's highest award the same year in a secret ceremony in the Kremlin.

Grozev said villagers recounted that Mishkin's grandmother had a photograph "that has been seen by everybody in the village, of Putin shaking Mishkin's hand and giving him the award".

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Traveling under his assumed name of Petrov, Mishkin went to Ukraine and other former Soviet states between 2011 and 2013, Bellingcat said. CNN has contacted her and Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov for comment on the new article. Skripal, who was recruited by the British MI6 in 1995, formerly headed the human resources department of the GRU, thanks to which he had excellent inside knowledge of the workings of Russian military intelligence, and was able to provide tips on Russian agents' psychology, behavioural patterns and so on. It identified the men as serving in Russian military intelligence and gave their real names as Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga. In June, two area residents who apparently came across a discarded vial that contained the poison also fell ill; one of them died. The Kremlin says the United Kingdom has fabricated the assassination story that has led to both the United Kingdom and Russian Federation expelling diplomats and introducing economic sanctions.

Most people did not respond to the inquiry but one, who requested complete anonymity, said they had recognised Dr Mishkin as the suspect who was interviewed under the name of Alexander Petrov by the Russia Today (RT) television channel.

Higgins noted that Mishkin's home village is snowbound for much of the year.

Last week, authorities in the Netherlands alleged that the GRU had tried and failed to hack the world's chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. "I think the last couple of operations have failed, but maybe that's due to overstretch or over-ambition on their part".

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