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More Claims About ‘Third Man’ in Skripal Poisoning

Bellingcat say a Russian military intelligence agent may have helped plan poison attacks in the UK and Bulgaria.

8 February 2019

An alleged third Russian agent implicated in the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the UK last year may have been in Bulgaria at the time of a poison attack there in 2015.

 

The open source investigation group Bellingcat and its Russian partner Insider claim the senior officer with the Russian military intelligence agency GRU was given a cover identity in 2010, at the same time as the GRU officers suspected of carrying out the Skripal poisoning, Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin.

 

Under the name “Sergey Fedotov,” he traveled widely over the next few years, but a trip to Bulgaria in 2015 is of interest because it coincided with the attempted poisoning of Bulgarian weapons entrepreneur Emilian Gebrev, Bellingcat says.

 

 

Gebrev was hospitalized on 24 April 2015 with symptoms of severe poisoning. His adult son and an executive at his company fell ill at around the same time. A lab in Helsinki specializing in chemical weapons attempted to identify the poison at Gebrev’s request and reported it found two poisons, one a strong pesticide and the other it was unable to identify, Bellingcat says, citing a 25 January story in the Bulgarian weekly Capital.

 

“The events surrounding ‘Sergey Fedotov’ ’s trips to Bulgaria closely match the pattern of his trip to and from the United Kingdom at the time of the Skripal poisoning,” Bellingcat writes.

 

Bellingcat’s findings have been used by authorities in several high-profile investigations, including the 2014 downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine.

 

Fedotov arrived in the UK on 2 March 2018, the same day as Chepiga and Mishkin, but on a different flight, Russian news outlet Fontanka reported in October. The Daily Telegraph earlier broke the story of the third suspected poisoner.

 

Fedotov’s true identity has not yet been uncovered while his role in the attack on Col. Skripal, a former GRU officer who sold secrets to MI6, also remains unclear,” The Telegraph said yesterday.

 

 

  • London police are continuing to investigate the Skripal poisoning, telling TASS this might include “identifying any other suspects who may have been involved in carrying out or planning the attack” but providing no further details.

 

  • Gebrev told Bellingcat he was at a loss to explain why the GRU might have wanted to hurt him and his family. He did provide two hypothetical reasons: either the agency was angered by his company’s exports of specialized defense-related equipment to Ukraine, or Russia might have been interested in an arms factory he controlled.
Compiled by Ky Krauthamer
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