Third Skripal Suspect 'Identified' By Online Investigative Group Bellingcat

And Russia is apparently trying to hide the evidence.

The true identity of a third suspect in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury has been discovered, an investigative website has claimed.

Bellingcat, known for its open-source intelligence gathering, said a man previously known as Sergei Fedotov used to work for Russia’s GRU military service and was involved in the chemical attack last year.

Bellingcat also claims Russia has attempted to erase all trace of Fedotov, real name Denis Sergeev, from official records.

Describing the discovery as “unprecedented”, Bellingcat said it is further evidence that Russia’s role in the poisoning was “coordinated at a state level”.

Former double agent Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March 2018. They had been poisoned by a Soviet-developed nerve agent and spent months recovering in hospital.

Bellingcat claims Sergeev, travelling as Fedotov, arrived in UK on a flight from Moscow on March 2, the same day as two other suspects in the case.

His exact role in the attack is not known, the group says. He was due to fly back to Russia on March 4, the day of the poisoning, but instead made his way to Rome before boarding a flight back to Russia.

Last year the UK accused two Russian men of being the agents who carried out the attempted murder. Bellingcat later identified the two men as Dr Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin and Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, both GRU officers who had been given awards by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

Russia denied the claims, and the two men appeared on state-funded TV denying the accusations in a bizarre interview, in which they claimed they were merely on holiday.

Dismissing extensive CCTV footage of both men walking to and from the area where the Skripal’s lived, they insisted they are not intelligence agents, and that they had simply been on a two-day trip to see Salisbury Cathedral.

The Bellingcat announcement comes after Russian news website Fontanka named Fedotov and made the link to the Salisbury attack in March 2018.

Bulgaria is currently investigating a possible link between the Skripal attack and the poisoning of an arms dealer in Sofia in 2015.

Sergeev is alleged to have visited Bulgaria three times in 2015 and was there in April when local arms dealer Emilian Gebrev was poisoned, Bulgarian officials have said.

Moscow, which never comments on the identity of GRU staff, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the poisoning, from which both Skripals recovered.

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