Third Skripal Suspect Linked to 2015 Bulgaria Poisoning
Bellingcat has determined that a third Russian GRU officer, who was in the United Kingdom at the time of the Skripals’ Novichok poisoning in March 2018, arrived in Bulgaria just days before a local entrepreneur and his son became seriously ill after being poisoned with an unidentified substance.
The third man, a 45-year-old Russian travelling under the alias Sergey Vyacheslavovich Fedotov, has been conclusively identified by Bellingcat as a senior GRU officer. Like the other two Skripal suspects, GRU officers Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, his cover identity was created in 2010, with no prior records of a person with this name ever existing.
Sergey Fedotov was first identified as a person of interest by the Russian news outlet Fontanka.
Bellingcat and its investigative partners, Russia’s The Insider (Russia) and Capital (Bulgaria), have traced Fedotov’s prodigious travel itinerary since his cover identity was created in 2010 until his last overseas trip to London in March 2018. Over these eight years, “Fedotov” traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, often appearing in hot spots just days before news-making events.
A trip taken by Fedotov to Bulgaria in April 2015, however, stands out due to its eerie resemblance to the circumstances around the Skripals’ poisoning in March 2018.
On April 24, 2015, “Sergey Fedotov” arrived on a flight from Moscow to the Bulgarian seaside resort of Burgas. He had a return flight for a week later, on April 30, from the capital city of Sofia back to Moscow. However, he did not show up for the return flight. Instead, late on the evening of April 28th, he showed up at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport and bought a last-minute ticket to a flight to Moscow.
Earlier that day, a Bulgarian entrepreneur, Emilian Gebrev, was hospitalized after collapsing at a reception he was hosting in Sofia. At around …read more