Investigative group names possible UK poisoning suspect

February 14, 2019 - 11:58 am

MOSCOW (AP) — The Bellingcat investigative organization says it has established the identity of an alleged Russian military intelligence officer who was in Britain when a Russian former double agent and his daughter were poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.

Bellingcat on Thursday identified the man as Denis Sergeyev, a graduate of the Military Diplomatic Academy, a training ground for intelligence officers.

The group said the man was also in Bulgaria in 2015 when a businessman there was poisoned by an unidentified substance.

Britain has named two alleged Russian military intelligence agents as suspects in the poisoning last year of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Authorities have not identified a third suspect and Bellingcat acknowledged: "It is unclear what (Sergeyev's) role may have been, if any, in the preparation and execution of the poisoning operation."

The poisoned Bulgarian businessman survived, as did his son who fell ill days later with less-severe symptoms, suggesting poisoning.

An official of Bulgaria's ruling party said this week that an investigation into the alleged Russian agent's activities would be conducted.

Roman Dobrokhotov, editor of Bellingcat's Russian reporting partner The Insider, told The Associated Press that he "We are almost 100-percent sure he was a key figure in the Skripal operation - he is linked to the Bulgarian poisonings."

Russia has vehemently denied any connection to the Skripal poisonings. The events set off a wave of recriminations between Britain and Russia, prompting the expulsions of scores of diplomats, from Russia, the U.K. and Britain's allies.

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