Poisoning suspect honoured by Putin in 2014, United Kingdom group says

The website reports Mishkin travelled to Salisbury under the alias Alexander Petrov

The website said: "Bellingcat's identification process included multiple open sources, testimony from people familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents, including a scanned copy of his passport".

"Until early September 2014, Mishkin's registered home address in Moscow was Khoroshevskoe Shosse 76B - the address of the headquarters of the GRU", Bellingcat's investigation concluded. The town is exceptionally remote, inaccessible by road except in winter when the grounds freezes hard and normally reachable only by a narrow-gauge railway.

But investigative journalism site Bellingcat has dug into the backgrounds of "Petrov" and "Boshirov", and says it has identified both men's true identities and that they work for the GRU.

A source told Bellingcat that Mishkin's grandmother had a photograph of him being presented the award by Putin himself.

President Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was not prepared to discuss investigative reports and media articles on the poisoning of Mr Skripal, and complained the British authorities had refused a Russian request to share details of their inquiries. But the latest revelations seemed to once again undercut Russia's denial that it was involved in the Salisbury poisonings.

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BRITAIN'S security minister has warned against underestimating Russian Federation, insisting the Kremlin is still intent on carrying out attacks on Britain and its allies - including cyber warfare, disinformation and assassinations.

Last month, the two suspects appeared on Russian television and claimed they had visited Salisbury as tourists to see the city's famous cathedral, only to be thwarted by slush and snow.

Bellingcat said their findings revealed those claims as false, and proved conclusively that the two men were tied to the GRU.

Chepiga, 39, had been assigned the alter ego of Boshirov by 2010, Bellingcat said.

Following the poisoning, both Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia spent several weeks in a hospital, but both ultimately survived.

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Prior to the attempted assassination of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury in March, he was said to have taken part in numerous undercover operations in Ukraine and Transnistria.

Mr Grozev said that while Mishkin a had a "very sparse digital footprint" compared to Chepiga they had been able to piece together his identity using various databases, including telephone and auto insurance records.

Higgins noted that Mishkin's home village is snowbound for much of the year.

Recent failings by Russian military intelligence (GRU) have made it easy to laugh at its spies but the West should not underestimate the skills of the Kremlin's once mighty espionage services, Britain's Security Minister said on Tuesday. In another report, Bellingcat established that "Petrov" was specifically working for Russia's military intelligence, the GRU.

Last week, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against seven members of the GRU, accusing them of hacking into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as four global sports governing bodies.

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USA officials have said the sanctions will remain in place until North Korea has "fully" and "verifiably" denuclearized. North Korea's state newspaper Rodong Sinmun called the sanctions "rude" in light of its conciliatory measures.

The suspects were identified as GRU agents and Theresa May said their actions were not a "rogue operation" and would have been approved at a senior level in Moscow.

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