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The man who entered Britain in March as Ruslan Boshirov has been identified as Col Anatoliy Chepiga.

He was born on 5 April 1978 and graduated into the military following a stint at one of Russia's elite training grounds, the Far-Eastern Military Command Academy, according to Bellingcat.

British defense minister Gavin Williamson said the "true identity" of one of the suspects in a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Salisbury had been revealed, apparently confirming media reports that the suspect was a Russian colonel.

Bellingcat said the name was a "fake cover persona" for an as yet unidentified Russian individual.

The investigative reporters used leaked files to establish Chepiga, a colonel, was deployed to Chechnya three times and was awarded a "Hero of Russia", Russia's highest state award, in 2014.

It "would imply that 'the job was ordered at the highest level, '" the group quoted its source as saying, according to Agence France-Presse.

Sitting next to the leaders of China and Japan, Vladimir Putin insisted Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were civilians with "nothing criminal" about their trip to Salisbury.

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The investigators then tracked Chepiga to two addresses, one from 2003 that belonged to the barracks of the special forces brigade where he served, and another in Moscow from 2012. While there is no publicly issued decree - or reference to him on the Kremlin website - the state-run volunteer website specifies that he received the award "in December 2014...for conducting a peace-keeping mission".

The passport file contained a photograph - dated approximately in 2003, when this passport was obtained - that strongly resembled a younger "Boshirov" as seen in passport photos released by the United Kingdom police. Boshirov said it was possible that they were near Skripal's house but did not know where it was.

ONE of the men accused of poisoning Sergei Skripal in the English country town of Salisbury has been outed as a highly awarded intelligence officer in Russian Federation. They visited the city twice during a 4-day trip, with the pair flying out of London within hours of the Skripals falling sick.

The U.S. levied sanctions against Russian Federation at the end of August in retaliation for the attack. Sergei Skripal's daughter Yulia Skripal seen in this undated photo.

In June, a British citizen, Dawn Sturgess, died and her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, fell ill when they stumbled across remnants of the poison in a town near Salisbury.

Russian Federation has fiercely denied any involvement in the poisoning. Russia's foreign ministry has previously denounced Bellingcat, alleging the group is related to Western intelligence agencies.


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