RUSSIA has again insisted the Salisbury assassins are INNOCENT despite one of them being unmasked as high-ranking spy decorated by Putin himself.
Yesterday, British online sleuths identified Ruslan Boshirov as Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga, a decorated colonel in Moscow’s GRU intelligence agency.
Chepiga is understood to have graduated from the Far Eastern Military Command Academy
Boshirov, one of two thugs believed to have been behind the nerve agent attack in Salisbury in March, was given the Hero of the Russian Federation medal in 2014 – a decoration reportedly handed out by Putin himself, claims the report by Bellingcat.
However, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, dismissed the claims, saying they are part of an “information campaign”.
Brazen Zakharova pointed out that the report had been published while Prime Minister Theresa May appeared at the UN.
She wrote on Facebook: “There is no evidence, so they continue the information campaign, the main task of which is to divert attention from the main question: ‘What happened in Salisbury?’
Ruslan Boshirov, circled, one of the suspected spies accused of trying to assassinate Sergei Skripal, may actually be a decorated Russian colonel
Borishov, circled, was caught smiling with his associate in Salisbury hours before the attack on the Skripals
Sergei and Yulia Skirpal were both poisoned by Novichok in March this yearEnterprise News and Pictures
“The question is: when will there be any evidence of the involvement of anyone, as London tells us, of poisoning in Salisbury?”
Previously Putin said the pair were simply “civilians” and backed laughable claims they were tourists visiting a cathedral insisting there was “nothing criminal” in their trip to the UK.
But online sleuths at Bellingcat and The Insider said last night there was no doubt the men “were in fact Russian officers operating on a clandestine government mission”.
And they added: “It is highly likely that Putin would have been familiar with the identity of Colonel Chepiga.”
Putin has denied any involvement in the nerve agent attackGetty – Contributor
The investigators plan to reveal Petrov’s name within two weeks.
They believe he is a captain in military intelligence. Bellingcat said Chepiga, 39, joined a marine commando and special forces military school at 18.
He later joined Spetsnaz, Russia’s SAS. He served in the Chechnya war and was near the Ukraine border as Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
Bellingcat, run by blogger Eliot Higgins, 39, in Leicester, says Chepiga was given the undercover identity of Boshirov at least eight years ago.
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He identified him by scouring old leaked databases and matching passport photos from the last 15 years with images given by Wilts Police.
Russia is investigating how the suspects’ passport details were leaked.
Boshirov and Petrov failed to kill ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia in March’s attack.
But Dawn Sturgess, 44, died in July after handling the Novichok.
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