The second suspect in the attempted poisoning of a former Russian secret agent has been identified by an investigative website. The same website identified the first suspect last month. 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.
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’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 full identification process will be described in the upcoming full report…
During his medical studies, Mishkin was recruited by the GRU, and by 2010 had relocated to Moscow, where he received his undercover identity – including a second national ID and travel passport – under the alias Alexander Petrov…
Bellingcat and the Insider have interviewed multiple sources familiar with Mishkin, both in St. Petersburg and in his native Loyga.
Today’s report is really just an announcement that the full report explaining in detail how the site identified Mishkin will be published tomorrow. But the photo lineup the site put together is pretty convincing. He’s got the same hair and the same mark on his chin in all 3 photos. Also, points to Bellingcat for the Doctor Who reference:
Together with Russia's The Insider, we have identified the second Skripals poisoning suspect as Alexander Mishkin, trained medical doctor in the employ of the GRU. https://t.co/RI339OFUco
— Bellingcat (@bellingcat) October 8, 2018
One of the Bellingcat team who ID’d the two GRU agents points out that the inclusion of a doctor on a 2-man team makes it harder to claim these guys were doing something other than handling a deadly nerve agent. You don’t need a spy doctor to do a routine recon mission in the suburbs.
“Putin has been caught in an open lie twice” – Christo Grozev, from the investigations team at Bellingcat, which has named the second Skripal suspect#newsnight | @bellingcat pic.twitter.com/BS7ffZSX1m
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) October 8, 2018
Last month, after a thorough investigation, British authorities identified two Russians believed to have carried out a nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal in the town of Salisbury earlier this year. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia both survived the attack but a woman who later found the poison, which had been hidden in a perfume bottle, wasn’t so lucky.
The two suspects had traveled from Russia to London by plane and then visited Salisbury by train on two successive days including the day the attack happened. CCTV cameras showed the pair walking through the town and coming within a couple blocks of Sergei Skripal’s home. The names on the pair’s travel documents were Ruslan Boshirov (on the left above) and Alexander Petrov (on the right).
Vladimir Putin responded to the accusation by claiming the pair were just ordinary Russian tourists. Later the same day they both appeared on Kremlin-run RT television telling the same story. They claimed they were tourists involved in the fitness industry who had traveled all the way to Salisbury to see a historic clock tower. But that explanation fell apart a couple weeks ago when Bellingcat identified one of the two men (the one on the left above) as Colonel Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga, a decorated soldier who had received Russia’s highest honor.
Two weeks ago when Colonel Chepiga was identified, the British Minister of Defense appeared to confirm it on Twitter and then just as quickly deleted his tweet.