The two Russian spies accused of deploying a chemical warfare agent in Salisbury have been promoted to work for Vladimir Putin, claims a new investigation.
They are now ‘important representatives of the Kremlin’ in different Russian regions, it is alleged.
Detailed revelations about notorious GRU ‘hit squad’ agents Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga will come soon, says an exclusive video on jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s YouTube channel.
The pair who used the pseudonyms Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are wanted in Britain for the novichok poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal – who secretly worked for MI6 – and his daughter Yulia in May 2018 in an attempted assassination bid.
Notorious GRU ‘hit squad’ agents Alexander Mishkin (right) and Anatoly Chepiga (left) are now ‘important representatives of the Kremlin’ in different Russian regions, it is alleged
Revelations about the two notorious GRU ‘hit squad’ agents will come soon, says investigative journalist Christo Grozev (pictured) in an exclusive video
They are also sought over the death from the same nerve agent of Salisbury resident Dawn Sturgess.
They are also now suspected of being part of a GRU sabotage team which caused explosions at arms depots in the Czech Republic in 2014.
Investigative journalist Christo Grozev told Navalny colleague Maria Pevchikh on the video that since the identities of the GRU pair were exposed, they can no longer work abroad as military intelligence spies.
Instead they are now allegedly working for the Kremlin under Putin.
‘The only thing I can say is that they are healthy and in state service,’ said Grozev.
‘They were given new jobs because they can no longer be used as spies.
The pair are wanted in UK for novichok poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal – who worked for MI6 – and his daughter Yulia (above) in May 2018 in attempted assassination bid
Grozev told Navalny colleague Maria Pevchikh (above) on the video that since the identities of the GRU pair were exposed, they can no longer work abroad as military intelligence spies
‘They were made into important representatives of the Kremlin, it can be said, in different (Russian) regions. You will soon hear about it.’
The agents have not been seen since appearing on Russian state TV channel RT in 2018 to claim they were simple tourists in Salisbury, sports drink salesmen with a keen interest in visiting the city’s cathedral for sightseeing.
A new investigation by independent publication The Insider is due to reveal more details of their present roles, and others involved in the GRU operations.
‘It is about not only the two Salisbury heroes [but also] their bosses, other people involved,’ confirmed Grozev, who worked on the latest investigation with editor Roman Dobrokhotov.
He added that Mishkin and Chepiga were made Heroes of Russia – the country’s highest award, granted by Putin – specifically for their role in the Czech and linked Bulgarian operation in 2014-15, long before the Salisbury attack.
‘They all received awards, they all received a Hero of Russia (award),’ he said.
‘Free apartments in Moscow, a large part of them [got apartments] in the same building in Moscow in Perekopskaya [Street].
‘They were given apartments there straight after it. Back then they became heroes.’
Recently Chepiga has been building himself a new country house north of Moscow, he stated.
Mishkin and Chepiga (pictured) are also now suspected of being part of a GRU sabotage team which caused explosions at arms depots in the Czech Republic in 2014
A new investigation by independent publication The Insider is due to reveal more details of their present roles (pictured: Alexander Mishkin), and others involved in the GRU operations
The pair (both pictured in Salisbury) have not been seen since appearing on Russian state TV channel RT in 2018 to claim they were simple tourists in Salisbury
Grozev also claimed that the pair’s claim to be sports drink company reps may have been a GRU in joke.
Most likely this phrasing was ‘an inside code word for Novichok or a poison’ at the secret Russian institute that develops the chemical warfare agent, he said.
He recalled that Chepiga – aka Boshirov – was spotted as guest of honour at the wedding of a daughter of Colonel General Andrey Averyanov, commander of GRU operations in both the Salisbury and Czech attacks.
Averyanov’s phone records indicate he was in contact with the office of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeatedly both before and in the aftermath of the Skripal poisoning, according to earlier reports.
British citizen journalism site Bellingcat has suggested that Averyanov’s involvement ‘closely implicates the political leadership in Russia’ given his senior position.
Telephone data analysis indicates he reports directly to the GRU’s director but also communicates personally with the Kremlin.