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Novichok poisoning suspect identified as GRU colonel

Salisbury poisoning suspect, Ruslan Boshirov, has been identified as Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated Russian colonel.

Investigators have identified this man who is one of the two key suspects of the investigation. 

Online investigative journalism sites, Bellingcat and The Insider, have devised an argument and put forward information which has identified one of the suspects who went by the alias Ruslan Boshirov. 

Chepiga, who was identified to be a war veteran of Chechnya, has previously been awarded one of the highest state awards in the country and deemed a hero of the Russian Federation in 2014 due to their work in the Ukraine conflict.

Victim of the Novichok nerve agent poisoning, Sergei Skripal, an ex-spy for the Russian secret intelligence, along with his daughter Yulia, both recovered and stayed out of the public eye since the attack.

 The two suspects, Boshirov and Petrov, have been charged with attempted murder in the UK.

Russian president Vladimir Putin, has denied the allegations against the two men. 

A state financed Russian television network interviewed the pair under their 'aliases', Boshirov and Petrov, where they stated that they were simply tourists who went to Salisbury to see the cathedral.

Due tot his, the UK and some of its allies, decided to expel over 100 Russian diplomats in March, back when the first attack took place.

Despite this, Russia has continuously denied the allegations against th etwo suspects.

Investigative sites, Bellingcat and the Insider, have uncovered passport files of Petrov which had a stamp that read "top secret" and "do not divulge" as well as a number for the Russian defence ministry on them.

Bellingcat has said that it found Boshirov's real identity through investigating photos from the military academy in Russia's far east which was where the suspects were likely to have studied and matched Chepiga to a man in a photo.

The Bellingcat reporters then tracked down Chepiga with two addresses, one in Khabarovsk and one in Moscow. Following this, they found some leaked passport data where they matched Chepiga to Boshirov.

According to the obtained information, Chepiga was born on 5 May 1979 in Nikolaevka, a far-eastern Russian village in the Amur region where he also enrolled in a military academy when he was 18 years old. 

He was found to be married and a father of one child according to the report.

According to the Russian government, Chepiga was awarded due to his work on "a peace-keeping mission" however, the reason behind his being awarded with the state award remains unclear.

 

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