Skripal poisoner spotted at wedding of GRU general’s daughter

Ruslan Boshirov, one of London’s chief suspects in the Skripal poisoning case and identified by Bellingcat to be the same person as GRU Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, has been spotted in the wedding photographs of GRU Major-General Andrey Averyanov’s daughter, Radio Liberty reports, based on a joint investigation with Bellingcat.

According to the journalists, the photographs were taken six months before the poisoning of the Skripals. The wedding was held in a hotel on the shore of Lake Senezh, 15 minutes from the Russian Special Operations Forces base in Senezh.

Radio Liberty claims that one of Boshirov-Chepiga’s children was involved in the wedding ceremony.

The journalists discovered that the Russian Defense Ministry has made an effort to conceal Averyanov’s identity. On the stand at the Tashkent Higher Combined Arms Command School, from which he graduated, instead of a photograph, there is a silhouette. Instead of a name, there are a few letters, and instead of a graduation year, there are question marks.

Radio Liberty has information that Averyanov is the commander of combat unit 29155, which The New York Times described as “the GRU’s secret division for sabotage operations in Europe”.

As reported by the Rambler agency, 66 year-old former spy Sergey Skripal and his 33 year-old daughter Yulia were found unconscious in Salisbury, England, in March 2018. London believes that they were poisoned by a nerve agent called “Novichok” that was produced in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Both the father and the daughter survived.

London holds Russia responsible for the assassination attempt, an accusation which Moscow denies.

The British authorities have two chief suspects in the case: Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, the presumed aliases of two men believed to work for Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). The two Russians were caught on camera near the Skripals’ house before the poisoning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Petrov and Boshirov are civilians. He asked them to tell their story publicly. Shortly thereafter, two men identifying themselves as Petrov and Boshirov gave an interview with Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT.

The men claimed to have visited the “beautiful city of Salisbury” and the Salisbury Cathedral, known for its spire and old bells, based on a friend’s recommendation.

  Skripal, Russia, GRU