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Kremlin on Skripal suspect identification – ‘Many folks look alike’

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Thursday forged doubt on pictures that appeared to point out a suspect within the Skripal poisoning case was a Russian intelligence officer, saying that “many people look alike.”

Ruslan Boshirov, who was formally accused of making an attempt to homicide former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, is seen on CCTV at Gatwick Airport on March 2, 2018 in a picture handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September 5, 2018. Metroplitan Police handout through REUTERS

British officers have launched surveillance footage of two males they stated flew from Russia to Britain utilizing faux passports after which used a nerve agent hidden in a vial of fragrance that poisoned Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The Bellingcat investigative web site this week revealed of somebody who seemed like one of many males, and whom it recognized as Russian army intelligence colonel Anatoliy Chepiga — difficult the Kremlin account that the 2 males had been civilians in Britain on sightseeing go to.

Asked concerning the Bellingcat report on a daily conference name with reporters on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated: “Many people look alike, but I cannot tell you who this citizen who was pointed out in this investigation is.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin beforehand stated the 2 males proven in British surveillance footage close to Skripal’s home within the English metropolis of Salisbury had been civilians and there was nothing legal about their exercise.

Asked on Thursday to touch upon Putin’s phrases within the mild of the brand new data, Peskov stated: “The president said that these people were civilians. Thus, he voiced the information that he had received … You and I know nothing about these people’s past, it is outside our (job) function.”

He stated Russian officers would look into the knowledge delivered to mild by the Bellingcat report.

The man named by Bellingcat, Anatoly Chepiga, has been designated a Hero of the Russian Federation, one among Russia’s highest honours, in accordance with the web site of the army academy he attended and pictures of a memorial on which his title is inscribed.

“We will check the lists of honourees,” Peskov stated.

Sergei Skripal, a Russian ex-spy who leaked secrets and techniques to Western intelligence, was found slumped on a public bench in Salisbury on March four, alongside his daughter, Yulia. They had been in a coma for weeks.

British officers stated they’d been poisoned with the Russian-developed “Novichok” nerve agent. They have been discharged from hospital however a neighborhood lady, Dawn Sturgess, died after unintended publicity to the agent, British officers stated.

The Skripal poisoning has deepened Russia’s worldwide isolation. Britain accused it of utilizing a military-grade chemical weapon on its soil and Washington, rallying to London’s help, has warned it’ll impose new sanctions on Russia.

Moscow has denied any involvement within the Skripal poisoning, saying Western states are gripped by “Russophobia” and that British authorities have failed to supply any proof.

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British international minister Jeremy Hunt stated on Thursday he had spoken concerning the poisoning to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Hunt instructed Sky News he had a frank alternate of views with Lavrov, and stated Russia could also be privately regretting its actions. “They paid a very high diplomatic price,” he stated.

In an interview broadcast on Russian state tv earlier this month, two Russian males stated they had been Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov – the aliases Britain stated had been utilized by the suspects within the Skripal poisoning.

They denied any connection to the poisoning, saying they had been associates who labored within the well being dietary supplements business and went to Salisbury to see its gothic cathedral.

The report by Bellingcat revealed this week cited what it stated was an official Russian passport file for Chepiga, which included his . It bore a detailed resemblance to the person within the British surveillance footage utilizing the title Ruslan Boshirov.

According to the Bellingcat report, Chepiga was born in 1979 in a village within the far east of Russia, and studied on the elite Far-Eastern Military Command Academy.

It stated he served in a particular forces brigade below the command of Russian army intelligence, and went on a number of missions to the Russian area of Chechnya, the place Moscow was preventing an Islamist insurgency.

It stated he acquired the Hero of Russia award in 2014, the yr Russian army intelligence took half in clandestine operations on Ukrainian territory. The quotation on his previous academy’s web site didn’t give any particulars of why he was given the award.

Two European safety sources aware of the Skripal investigation stated the main points revealed by Bellingcat had been correct.

Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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