British website says 2nd Russian blamed for Skripal poisoning is GRU doctor

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

Development follows alleged identification last month of GRU colonel in nerve-agent attack

An image made from video shows a man identified as Alexander Petrov attending his first public appearance in an interview with the RT channel in Moscow on Sept. 13. The Bellingcat website says Petrov is actually Alexander Mishkin, a doctor working for the Russian military intelligence unit known as GRU. (RT via Associated Press)

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.

Bellingcat — which covers intelligence matters — identified him as 39-year-old Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, saying he was charged by Britain last month under the name of Alexander Petrov.

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper also named Mishkin in a separate report published Monday.

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

Bellingcat last month identified Boshirov as a colonel in the GRU whose real name was Anatoliy Chepiga.

Diplomatic fallout

In response to a query about the latest report, British police said they would not comment on speculation about the real identities of the two men facing charges.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a public bench in Salisbury, and the case prompted the biggest East-West diplomatic expulsions since the Cold War.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are seen in a composite photo. Both survived the nerve-agent attack after lengthy stays in hospital. (Misha Japaridze/AP; Yulia Skripal/Facebook via AP)

A British woman named Dawn Sturgess later died from Novichok poisoning after her partner found a counterfeit perfume bottle, which police believe had been used to smuggle the nerve agent into Britain.

Mishkin was born in July 1979 in the village of Loyga, in the Archangelsk district of northern Russia, and until September 2014, his registered home address in Moscow was the same as the headquarters of the GRU, Bellingcat said.

"Bellingcat's 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," the website said.

15-year veteran

Mishkin's GRU rank was unknown, it added, but based on his 15-year service, it was likely to be lieutenant colonel or colonel.

He was recruited by GRU during his studies at one of Russia's military medical academies, and between 2011 and 2018 he travelled repeatedly under the identity of Alexander Petrov, including to Ukraine and Moldova's breakaway territory of Transdniestria.

Russia denies any involvement in the poisoning, and the two men have said publicly they were tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited Salisbury to see its cathedral.

Russia's embassy in London did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.

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