Salisbury Novichok suspect’s ‘real identity’ revealed

Salisbury Novichok suspect’s ‘real identity’ revealed

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

An online investigations group has published what it says is the real identity of one of the prime suspects in the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Bellingcat has reported that the man who was named as Ruslan Boshirov is actually Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, who they say is a highly decorated officer in the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service.

The Home Office said it could neither confirm nor deny the reporting about the suspect’s real identity.

Scotland Yard, which has already said it believed the two suspects were using aliases, declined to comment.

Earlier this month, Britain accused Russia of "lies and blatant fabrications" after the prime suspects in the Novichok attack claimed they visited the UK as tourists.

The men who said their names were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told Russian state-funded news channel RT they travelled to the "wonderful" city in Wiltshire after recommendations from friends.


‘Deeply offensive’

CCTV capture of one of the Salisbury suspects, first named as Ruslan Boshirov

Downing Street called the content of the interview "deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack".

In a translation from Russian, the pair told RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan they worked in the fitness industry.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin said the men had been discounted as members of his security network, and insisted they were civilians.

UK authorities believe the pair smeared the highly toxic chemical Novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, leaving Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill on March 4.

On June 30, in nearby Amesbury, Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were exposed to the same nerve agent.

Ms Sturgess died in hospital in July, just over a week after the pair fell ill.

A police officer who visited the home of the Skripals shortly after the attack, Nick Bailey, was also left critically ill from exposure to the substance.