Villagers have recognized suspect in UK poisoning: Russian paper

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MOSCOW: Residents in a small Russian village have recognized one of many two suspects within the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain as a senior intelligence agent, Russia’s revered Kommersant each day stated on Thursday in a report that backed up findings by an investigative group.

British-based investigative group Bellingcat on Wednesday named one of many males suspected to have carried out the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter as Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, an agent with the Russian navy intelligence company GRU who was awarded Russia’s highest medal, Hero of Russia, in 2014.

The suspect had been named by British authorities as Ruslan Boshirov, and he had additionally appeared on Russian tv channel RT underneath that title denying any involvement within the poison assault. The Bellingcat report revealed a photograph from Chepiga’s 2003 passport that resembled Boshirov however didn’t comprise additional proof that they’re the identical particular person.

Kommersant on Thursday interviewed a number of residents of Beryozovka, the small village the place Chepiga’s household used to dwell, and quoted them confirming that Chepiga is without doubt one of the suspects recognized by British authorities.

The villagers stated they haven’t seen Chepiga for about ten years, however might recognise him within the photographs launched by British police and within the interview on RT. One resident described him as a “excellent, intelligent boy”. One other stated individuals within the village knew that Chepiga was “within the secret service” and that his mom was fearful about his assignments.

Britain has charged Boshirov and one other suspect, Alexander Petrov, with attempting to kill Skripal and his daughter on March four with the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok within the English metropolis of Salisbury. Britain has stated the assault acquired approval “at a senior stage of the Russian state,” an accusation Moscow has fiercely denied.

Each males appeared in an unique interview with the Kremlin-funded RT tv station earlier this month once they denied any function within the poisoning or hyperlinks to the intelligence providers. They stated they had been within the sports activities vitamin enterprise and that they had been in Salisbury on trip.

Putin earlier this month stated the 2 suspects are civilians who did nothing felony.

Requested about Bellingcat’s report, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated on Thursday that the president stands by his assertion. He added that the Kremlin doesn’t know who Chepiga was, however promised to verify whether or not he acquired Russia’s highest award.

An area patriotic society briefly wrote about Anatoly Chepiga in a December article, saying he graduated in 2001 from the Far Japanese Navy Command School. The article stated he had been on task in Chechnya thrice and has been awarded “Hero of Russia”.

Some Russian media on Thursday tried to debunk Bellingcat’s findings.

Russia’s best-selling information­­­paper Komsomolskaya Pravda on Thursday quoted a Defen­­­­ce Ministry worker who pointed to what he described as a number of discrepancies within the investigation.

Printed in Daybreak, September 28th, 2018

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