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Russian spy who tried to kill Bulgarian arms dealer “is diplomat linked to poisoning of Skripal”

A spy who tried to kill a Bulgarian arms dealer is a Russian diplomat associated with the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, a new report claims.

Bulgarian prosecutors accused three Russians last month of attempting to kill the arms factory and trader Emilian Gebrev and two other Bulgarians in Sofia between April 28 and May 4, 2015 by “intoxication with an unidentified organophosphorus substance,” said the prosecutors in a statement.

One of the three alleged men named Georgy Gorkshov, is actually Yegor Gordienko, a Russian diplomat, it is claimed.

After two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Mr Gebrev, he was supposed to have become a third secretary on Russia’s mission to the World Trade Organization in Switzerland, Bellingcat claimed yesterday.

It is reported that the 41-year-old GRU officers in Europe may have supported, such as Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Miskin, who were accused of attempted murder in September 2018 following the poisoning of Mr. Skripal and his daughter in March of the same year.

The three suspects have been identified as Sergei Pavlov, Sergei Fedotov and Georgy Gorshkov, and are believed to be residents of Moscow, the public prosecutor said in a statement earlier this week.

Last month prosecutors announced charges against three Russians for the same case, but did not identify them.

A CCTV image of the suspected GRU agent who was allegedly involved in the Gebrev reinforcement

A CCTV image of the suspected GRU agent who was allegedly involved in the Gebrev reinforcement

The suspected GRU agent who was allegedly involved in the expansion of Gebrev

The suspected GRU agent who was allegedly involved in the expansion of Gebrev

The suspected GRU agent who was allegedly involved in the expansion of Gebrev

The poisoning investigation was reopened in 2018 after Gebrev told the prosecutors that he had reason to believe that the substance being used on him could be similar to Novichok, the nervous medicine against Skripal in Salisbury in England was used.

In February last year, Bulgaria said it was investigating a possible link between their poisoning and the attack on Skripal and his daughter, who both survived.

At the time, prosecutors said that a Russian man by the name of Sergei Fedotov visited Bulgaria three times in 2015 and was there in April when Gebrev was poisoned.

The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal (right) in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on March 4 made the former Russian double agent and his daughter Yulia (left) seriously ill

The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal (right) in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on March 4 made the former Russian double agent and his daughter Yulia (left) seriously ill

The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal (right) in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on March 4 made the former Russian double agent and his daughter Yulia (left) seriously ill

In October 2018, the Russian news website named Fontanka Fedotov, who reportedly worked for the country’s military intelligence service, as a suspect in the Skripal case.

Research website Bellingcat was previously called Denis Sergeev, who used the alias Sergei Fedotov, as a 45-year-old member of the GRU who arrived in Britain on the same day as the two suspected attackers, 48 ​​hours before the poisoning that took place on March 4, 2018 .

New information suggests that he took on a “supervisory, coordinating role” in the attack, the website said after investigations alongside the BBC.

Sources told the BBC’s Newsnight program that Sergeev holds the rank of Major General in the Russian military intelligence service.

Moscow never comments on the identity of GRU employees, but denies involvement in the poisoning of Skripal.

Denis Sergeev, the third suspect (deployment), showed his movements in London last year: March 2: Gatwick to Paddington. March 3: Embankment Station to Salisbury. March 4: Paddington to Salisbury and then the home of the Skripal (Wilton Road) before flying back to Moscow

Denis Sergeev, the third suspect (deployment), showed his movements in London last year: March 2: Gatwick to Paddington. March 3: Embankment Station to Salisbury. March 4: Paddington to Salisbury and then the home of the Skripal (Wilton Road) before flying back to Moscow

Denis Sergeev, the third suspect (deployment), showed his movements in London last year: March 2: Gatwick to Paddington. March 3: Embankment Station to Salisbury. March 4: Paddington to Salisbury and then the home of the Skripal (Wilton Road) before flying back to Moscow

The movements of the original two suspects Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov (inset): RED, first two suspects - March 2: Gatwick, to Victoria, then Waterloo and further to the City Stay Hotel. March 3: Waterloo, to City Stay, to Salisbury. March 4: Skripals' house (Wilton Road), departure on a flight to Moscow.

The movements of the original two suspects Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov (inset): RED, first two suspects - March 2: Gatwick, to Victoria, then Waterloo and further to the City Stay Hotel. March 3: Waterloo, to City Stay, to Salisbury. March 4: Skripals' house (Wilton Road), departure on a flight to Moscow.

The movements of the original two suspects Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov (inset): RED, first two suspects – March 2: Gatwick, to Victoria, then Waterloo and further to the City Stay Hotel. March 3: Waterloo, to City Stay, to Salisbury. March 4: Skripals’ house (Wilton Road), departure on a flight to Moscow.

A spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment extensively on Thursday, but said the Russian embassy in Bulgaria was probably following developments.

In December, Sotir Tsatsarov, then chief prosecutor of Bulgaria, said he saw a close link between the people involved in the crimes in Bulgaria and England, because a suspect in the Skripal case was in Sofia when Gebrev was poisoned.

Who is the ‘third man’ and what was his role in the Russian army?

Denis Sergeev graduated from a military elite academy in Moscow that produces top intelligence officers.

The 45-year-old is supposed to have left the UK on the same day as the nerve attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

He was also associated with the failed poisoning of an arms dealer in Bulgaria in 2015. And he would have been the boss of various sham companies and linked to a Russian bank loan of more than $ 1 million.

Sergeev was also in Bulgaria in April 2015 when the Bulgarian arms manufacturer Emilian Gebrev (photo) collapsed after a mysterious poisoning in Sofia.

Sergeev was also in Bulgaria in April 2015 when the Bulgarian arms manufacturer Emilian Gebrev (photo) collapsed after a mysterious poisoning in Sofia.

Sergeev was also in Bulgaria in April 2015 when the Bulgarian arms manufacturer Emilian Gebrev (photo) collapsed after a mysterious poisoning in Sofia.

Sergeev’s true identity and details of his movements were revealed by the research website Bellingcat.

Under the cover name Sergey Fedotov, he arrived at Heathrow on 2 March last year before Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga – the two main suspects in poisoning in Salisbury.

It is thought that all three serve in the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU.

Sergeev was checked in on a Heathrow flight to Russia on March 4 – the day the Skripals were found collapsed on a bench in Salisbury – but instead he broke off his travel plans and went via Moscow to Moscow.

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