“That’s him, Tolya, one hundred percent him. Nearly black eyes, and his voice. In 1996 he finished Beryozovka school and joined DVOKU (the Far Eastern Higher Military Command School). Very smart, a good boy, intelligent, well-spoken, learned well. Everyone can only say positive things about him. Didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, never got mixed up with bad company. I remember clearly that his birthday was at the start of April. His sister Galya was a bit older,” said a woman who knew Chepiga during his school years.
“We knew that he was in the secret service in the hot spots. His mother cried: even his family wasn’t kept informed of his exact whereabouts. His wife lived in Khabarovsk, waiting. The last time she saw him was 10 years ago, when he visited his relatives,” commented another resident of Beryozovka.
The Beryozovka village is 37 kilometers from Nikolayevka, where Chepiga was reportedly born. His family lived in Beryozovka for a long time, but later moved to Blagoveshchensk.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has also commented on the matter. According to Meduza, he said that he knows nothing about any GRU (Russian Main Intelligence Directorate) Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, and added that the reports of The Insider and Bellingcat that he was awarded the title of “Hero of Russia” would be verified.
On September 5, British prosecutors released the names of the two Russians who are suspected of carrying out the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury: Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. The prosecutors noted that their real names may be different. Journalists recently learned that Ruslan Boshirov’s real name may be Anatoly Chepiga, a Colonel from the GRU who has been awarded the title of “Hero of Russia”.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said that the Russians are GRU officers, i.e. Russian intelligence agents. The UK has received a European warrant to arrest the two Russians.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that the suspects’ names are unknown to it, and accused the UK of “information manipulation”.