Trail of blunders gave away suspect second Salisbury attack suspect Alexander Mishkin

Reuters

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal became critically ill after being exposed to a nerve agent in March.

"While Aleksandr Mishkin's true persona has an even sparser digital footprint than Anatoly Chepiga's, Bellingcat has been able to establish certain key facts from his background", the October 8 report said.

The website alleges Miskin travelled under the alias Alexander Petrov.

Bellingcat's findings also cast doubt on Russia's claims that Boshirov and Petrov were civilians and that the government had no knowledge of the Skripal attack.

"Based on the body of intelligence, the government has concluded that the two individuals named by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU", British Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament at the time.

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.

Together with another suspect, earlier identified by Bellingcat to be Anatoliy Chepiga, Mishkin travelled to the British town Salisbury in March 2018 and allegedly poisoned former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

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Accusations against Russian Federation "know no limits", said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. He said: "This GRU operation was trying to collect information about the MH17 investigation".

Russian Federation denies any involvement in the poisoning, and the two men have said publicly they were tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited Salisbury to see its cathedral.

Bellingcat last month identified Boshirov as a colonel in the GRU whose real name was Anatoliy Chepiga.

Skripal and his daughter were found slumped on a public bench in the town Salisbury and a woman later died after her partner found a fake perfume bottle which police believe had been used to smuggle the nerve agent into the UK.

"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 website said.

Both suspects have appeared on Russian TV to deny any link to the Salisbury poisonings.

This is how British authorities discovered the two Russian agents allegedly behind the novichok attack.

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