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NEWS Skripal suspect ‘real identity revealed’

NEWS Skripal suspect ‘real identity revealed’

Image copyright Bellingcat / PA Image caption Anatoliy Chepiga 2003 passport photo and (right) the picture of Ruslan Boshirov, released by police An investigative journalism website has published what it says is the real identity of one of the Russian intelligence officers suspected of the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning. The Bellingcat group claims the man…


NEWS

NEWS Anatoliy Chepiga and Ruslan BoshirovImage copyright Bellingcat / PA
Image caption Anatoliy Chepiga 2003 passport photo and (right) the picture of Ruslan Boshirov, released by police

An investigative journalism websitehas publishedwhat it says is the real identity of one of the Russian intelligence officers suspected of the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning.

The Bellingcat group claims the man who was named as Ruslan Boshirov is actually Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga.

British officials have not commented. The BBC understands there is no dispute over the identification.

UK investigators have said Mr Boshirov was a Russian intelligence officer.

It was thought he travelled to the UK on a false passport, under a pseudonym, with another Russian national who used the name Alexander Petrov.

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Media caption“Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town” – interview from 13 September 2018

Ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by Novichok in March. The pair survived but Dawn Sturgess – a woman not connected to the original attack –died in Julyafter being exposed to the same substance.

The UK government has accused Mr Petrov and Mr Boshirov of the attack. It said they were undercover officers for the Russian military intelligence, the GRU.

Russia has always denied the allegations and President Vladimir Putin said the suspects were civilians.

The pair then appearedon Russian-state televisionclaiming to have been tourists, visiting Salisbury to see its cathedral.

Bellingcat says that Col Chepiga was a soldier who served in Chechnya and was awarded the highest state award – Hero of the Russian Federation, usually bestowed personally by President Vladimir Putin.

Image copyright Bellingcat

Image caption Colonel Chepiga is the last name on the Gold Star honour list on the memorial wall of the Far Eastern Military Command School

Bellingcat obtained extracts from the passport file of Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga. A picture of Mr Chepiga from 2003 appears to look like a younger version of the man who used the identity Ruslan Bushirov.

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