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Skripal attack: Bellingcat names second Salisbury suspect

An extensive investigation was launched into the nerve agent attack in Salisbury in March

When the British government indicted two Russians last month for the near-fatal poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in March, the two men they named as the attackers, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, went on Russian TV to assert they were just tourists who just happened to be in Salisbury the same day as the poisoning. Amy Kellogg has the story.

The second of two Russians who Britain says poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter has been named as a military doctor for Russian intelligence by a United Kingdom investigative website.

"At least 5 different residents told our reporter that Alexander Mishkin, who they knew worked in Murmansk or in Moscow "as a military doctor", had received the Hero of Russian Federation several years ago", the report said.

Dr Mishkin was then recruited by the secretive GRU, where he was given the undercover identity of Alexander Petrov. He and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a public bench in Salisbury, and the British authorities said they were sickened by a Soviet-made nerve agent.

Last month, Bellingcat named the first suspect in the poisoning scandal as Anatoliy Chepiga.

The reported naming of the second Novichok suspect is the latest embarrassment for Putin's intelligence services after a bungled cyber attack was exposed by Dutch investigators last week.

The second man believed to be behind a nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England, has been identified as a Russian military doctor.

Mr Grozev said the reporters from the Russian website The Insider had managed to reach Mishkin's home village of Loyga, where they spoke to seven people who confirmed his identity.

Both survived after weeks in critical condition, but Dawn Sturgess, a woman who authorities said came in contact with the poison after her boyfriend found a fake perfume bottle containing it, died in July.

Bellingcat said that sources who knew Mishkin's family said they believed he had been given the award for actions in Crimea, or for being part of a special forces unit that helped Ukraine's pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych flee the country after he was toppled from power.

The suspects were identified as GRU agents and Theresa May said their actions were not a "rogue operation" and would have been approved at a senior level in Moscow.

Bellingcat said he made multiple trips to Ukraine.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the attack and previously dismissed photos linking Chepiga to the GRU, but issued no comment when asked about the findings released about Dr Mishkin.

Four Russians allegedly attempted to hack into the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague in the wake of the Salisbury attack.

Bellingcat cross-referenced this information with other leaked databases, including a vehicle insurance database which identified the same man as the driver of a Volvo registered to the GRU headquarters.

The West has accused Russia's military intelligence agency of running what it described as a global hacking campaign, targeting institutions from sports anti-doping bodies to a nuclear power company and the chemical weapons watchdog.