Salisbury poisoning: What we know about doctor accused of nerve agent attack

The website reports Mishkin travelled to Salisbury under the alias Alexander Petrov

The website reports Mishkin travelled to Salisbury under the alias Alexander Petrov

A still image taken from a video footage and released by RT worldwide news channel on September 13, 2018, shows two Russian men with the same names, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, as those accused by Britain over the case of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, during an interview at an unidentified location, Russia.

Investigative news outlet Bellingcat has tracked down what it says are the true identities of the two suspects, who claim they were only tourists.

The names on the pair's travel documents were Ruslan Boshirov (on the left above) and Alexander Petrov (on the right).

While Russia denies any involvement in the poisoning.

We have now identified "Alexander Petrov" to be in fact Dr. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a trained military doctor in the employ of the GRU.

Bellingcat says he was recruited to the GRU intelligence service during his medical studies and that until September 2014, Mishkin's Moscow home address was the same as the GRU headquarters.

British police have said they think the couple was exposed to the substance in June from traces in the bottle that had contained the Novichok used to poison the Skripals months earlier.

Bellingcat, a website that covers intelligence matters, had previously identified Boshirov on September 26 as being decorated GRU Colonel Anatoly Chepiga.

Bellingcat's latest investigation said Mishkin was born in 1979 in the Archangelsk District in northern Russia and graduated from the elite Military Medical Academies, where he was trained for medical work in the Russian navy.

It said President Vladimir Putin had presented him with the Hero of the Russian Federation award.

Last month, the United Kingdom charged the two Russians with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder.

They were found unconscious on a bench outside the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury. But the nerve agent killed a British woman, Dawn Sturgess, and seriously sickened her partner.

The Skripal case and last week's revelations that the GRU also allegedly tried to hack into the world's chemical weapons watchdog in the Netherlands have further tattered Moscow's strained ties with the West.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told RT's editor-in-chief they had nothing to do with the Skripals' poisoning.

The prosecutors said at the time the two were undercover GRU officers.

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