NEWS
10/10/2018 11:01 BST

Novichok Suspect's Grandmother Goes Missing

She'd been showing everyone a photograph of Alexander Mishkin.

A missing grandmother is the latest twist in the slowly unfolding saga of the real identities of the men who poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

On Tuesday, Bellingcat claimed they had unmasked one of the suspects as Dr Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a doctor working with Russian military intelligence (GRU).

A key part of the identification process was visiting the small village of Loyga, northern Russia, where he grew up, to speak to those who knew him – in particular, is grandmother.

Bellingcat investigator Cristo Grozev told a news conference at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday: “His grandmother with whom he grew up, who happens to be medical professional, has a photograph, in her own words, that has been seen by everybody in the village, of President Putin shaking Mishkin’s hand and giving him the award.”

But speaking to her proved impossible.

“Interestingly we have not seen her because the moment we announced this press conference today, the grandmother was asked to visit her children — Mr Mishkin’s father and mother — in another town so she vanished from the village three days ago,” Grozev added.

Just who asked her to leave the village is not known, but a clue came when reporters asked why some of the villagers did not recognise Mishkin.

Grozev said: “That person told us everybody from his class, his department, was contacted two weeks ago and told not to talk to the media.”

The identification of the second suspect blows yet another hole in the official narrative put forward by the Kremlin which, using a interview on Russian state media, tried to pass the two men off as tourists on a two-day international jaunt to visit Salisbury Cathedral.

Russia continues to deny the allegations, with President Vladimir Putin saying last month there was “nothing criminal” about the two men.

Here’s everything we know about the suspects so far: