A report from Bellingcat and The Insider–Russia has concluded that the man known as Ruslan Boshirov—one of the identified suspects in this spring’s poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Julia—is actually Col. Anatoliy Chepiga, a military intelligence officer with Russia’s GRU. The reporting outfits came to the conclusion after obtaining a passport file for Chepiga that included a 2003 photo of the man that “strongly resembled” a younger version of the man known as Boshirov. Chepiga reportedly served in the 14th Spetsnaz Brigade and was deployed three times during the Chechen War. The operations that he conducted while deployed are not known. Chepiga also received Russia’s “highest state award”—called the “Hero of the Russian Federation”—in December 2014. The award is said to be bestowed personally by the president of Russia and serves as “recognition of services to the state and the people of Russia involving a heroic deed.” A previous report from Bellingcat and The Insider–Russia claimed that suspects Boshirov and Alexander Petrov used cover identities.
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