Second suspect in poisoning of ex-Russian spy named

Bellingcat shared additional images of the doctor

Investigative group Bellingcat on Monday identified the second suspect in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal as a doctor employed by Moscow's GRU military intelligence service.

Bellingcat said that sources who knew Mishkin's family said they believed he had been given the award for actions in Crimea, or for being part of a special forces unit that helped Ukraine's pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych flee the country after he was toppled from power.

The site announced today that the man identified as Alexander Petrov (on the right above) is actually a military doctor named Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin who works with Russia's intelligence service, the GRU.

British authorities charged both last month under their assumed names, saying at the time they thought the Russian men were not who they said they were.

The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom called the Bellingcat report "a display of freedom of public debate". 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.

He was recruited by the secretive GRU, given the undercover identity of Alexander Petrov when he was stationed in Moscow and made multiple trips to Ukraine, the investigative group said.

The two suspects gave a freakish interview to a Russian TV channel after the United Kingdom government released CCTV footage of their trip to Salisbury around the very time the Skripals were poisoned.

Last month, the two suspects appeared on Russian television and claimed they had visited Salisbury as tourists to see the city's famous cathedral, only to be thwarted by slush and snow. Security analysts and others dismissed their explanation as absurd.

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London's Metropolitan Police declined to comment on "speculation regarding their identities", BBC News reports.

The attack, which targeted ex-spy Sergei Skripal, is believed to have been ordered by senior Russian leadership.

Both survived after weeks in critical condition, but Dawn Sturgess, a woman who authorities said came in contact with the poison after her boyfriend found a fake perfume bottle containing it, died in July.

The case prompted the biggest East-West diplomatic expulsions since the Cold War. For several years he used, inexplicably say analysts, the address of the GRU headquarters as his home address.

He had climbed the ranks of the GRU after graduating from the a military medical academy no later than 2001, and relocated to Moscow at some point between 2007 and 2010.

The 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.

Bellingcat reporters travelled to Mishkin's remote home village once they discovered his identity - and found that the man's grandmother had "vanished" just days earlier.

Last week, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against seven members of the GRU, accusing them of hacking into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as four worldwide sports governing bodies.

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