A mystery third man is likely to have travelled to Britain with two GRU agents at the time when the Skripals were poisoned by a nerve agent, according to Russian reports.
A man using the alias Sergey Fedotov, 45, flew to London on 2 March, the same day as military intelligence agents ‘Alexander Petrov’ and ‘Ruslan Boshirov’ – but on a different flight.
He left on the same flight to Moscow as them on 4 March, according to an analysis of passenger lists by respected independent Fontanka news agency.
Fedotov – who used a passport with numbers similar to the two unmasked GRU agents – had earlier visited London in March 2016 and March 2017.
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Like Petrov and Boshirov, real names Alexander Mishkin and Ruslan Boshirov, he had made a series of previous trips to other European destinations which, for him, included Prague, Kiev, Milan and Geneva.
Fontanka claimed today that the information about Fedotov – which it suggests is an alias – was “available to Scotland Yard from the very beginning”.
For unknown reasons it had not been made public.
Fontanka said Fedotov was “perfect for the role of the third suspect”. No property or car ownership details match the name and age in Russia.
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What is Novichok, the deadly nerve agent?
By OLIVER MILNE
This group of nerve agents was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s and is said to be up to ten times stronger than VX.
Novichoks – meaning ‘newcomer’ in Russian – were designed as "binary weapons", meaning they are comprised of two relatively harmless ingredients that only become deadly when mixed together.
This makes them easier to transport, handle and gives them a much longer shelf life than other nerve agents.
Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, the former head of Britain’s Chemical, Biological Radiation and Nuclear regiment told the Express: "It is designed to be undetectable for any standard chemical security testing.
"Victims would only need to touch it for it to be absorbed into their bloodstreams." Read more here.
He has no mobile phone registered to his name, nor any social media footprint.
His passport number is only “one or two digits different” from the passports issued in the names of Petrov and Boshirov.
“Obviously, Fedotov will be officially announced sooner or later, and private investigators, similar to the case of Petrov-Boshirov, will reveal his real name and biography,” claimed Fontanka.
The two Russians were seen at the city’s railway station the day before the Skripals were poisoned
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The news agency pointed to Fediotov’s trip to Prague as significant.
Earlier today, there were claims citing Czech secret services alleging that GRU agents using the names Petrov and Boshirov had visited Prague in 2014 at the same time as Sergei Skripal was in the city.