Salisbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian colonel by UK media

Hugh Fox
September 27, 2018

It added: "Based on the array of information sources consulted - all of which were independent from each other and came from different time periods - Bellingcat was able to conclude with certainty that the person identified by United Kingdom authorities as "Ruslan Boshirov" is in fact Colonel Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga, a highly decorated senior officer from Russian military intelligence who was awarded the highest state honour in late 2014".

The real identity of one of the wanted men in the nerve agent attack - named by counter-terrorism police as Ruslan Boshirov - can be disclosed as Colonel Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga.

Skripal, who sold secrets to British intelligence agency MI6, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok on March 4.

British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the United Nations General Assembly
Camera Icon British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the United Nations General

Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the poisoning. Bellingcat got involved in the Skripal affair earlier this month, claiming to have obtained documents from the Russian passport database that they said proves Boshirov and his traveling companion, Alexander Petrov are Russian spies.

The two Russian men have denied the accusations, saying they visited Salisbury as tourists to see its cathedral.

Russian military representatives pose in front of the memorial wall with Anatoliy Chepiga as the last name under the Gold Star honor list at the Far-Eastern Military Command Academy in Blagoveshensk, Russia May 24, 2017.

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He is a highly-decorated Russian veteran of the Chechnya war, according to online investigative group Bellingcat.

It "would imply that 'the job was ordered at the highest level, '" the group quoted its source as saying, according to Agence France-Presse.

Prime Minister Theresa May did not address the reports directly in a speech to the United Nations in NY, but spoke of "the reckless use of chemical weapons on the streets of Britain by agents of the Russian GRU (military intelligence)".

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The revelation casts doubt over Mr Putin's claims that Chepiga and his alleged accomplice Alexander Petrov were innocent "civilians".

The Telegraph has reported Chepiga had fought for the elite special forces unit Spetsnaz under the authority of the GRU for 17 years while also working undercover for at least nine years.

From there, the reporters tracked Chepiga to two addresses in Khabarovsk and Moscow, and were also leaked passport data showing photographs that matched Chepiga to Boshirov. CCTV released by police showed the two men in Salisbury close to Skripal's house on the day of the poisoning. Boshirov said it was possible that they were near Skripal's house but did not know where it was.

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The U.S. levied sanctions against Russian Federation at the end of August in retaliation for the attack.

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