The wanted Russians, posing as “Alexander Petrov” (left) and “Ruslan Boshirov”.
In the scandal between the Czech Republic and Russia with the expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats for espionage and the retaliation of 20 Czech diplomats from Moscow, a “Bulgarian connection” also appeared. She is with arms businessman Emelyan Gebrev, who is believed to have been assassinated twice in 2015 with a nerve agent by Russian agents.
According to Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, quoted by the national news agency CTK, police are checking a version that the ammunition detonated more than four years ago should have exploded later when it was delivered to Bulgaria. The Minister added that the Czech Republic and Bulgaria are cooperating in the investigation of the explosions.
Czech Police and the National Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (NCOZ) announced to search for two people and spread their photos, which shows that they are Russians Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin. They are officially named by the UK as the perpetrators of the March 4, 2018 assassination attempt in Salisbury against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia with a substance from the “newcomer” group.
The Czech Republic is now looking for them in connection with the explosions in an arms depot in 2014, indicating the names of the later “Scrupial” names in the passports with which they entered the country – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, but added two more passports, with which they presented themselves: Moldovan in the name of Nikolai Popa and Tajik in the name of Ruslan Tabarov.
Chepiga and Mishkin are not direct participants in the assassination attempt against Gebrev, but the connection with them is through “Sergei Fedotov”, considered the coordinator of Skripal’s poisoning and visited Bulgaria several times around the poisoning of Bulgarian entrepreneurs.
For that wrote first the weekly “Capital” on January 25, 2019 in a joint investigation with the Bellingcat group, continued then from the Czech edition of Respekt and the Finnish edition of Helsingin Sanomat, revealing his real name – Denis Sergeev. All three are considered Russian military intelligence officers, known as the GRU.
© Police of the Czech Republic
Part of the burials where the explosion took place.
At the outbreak of the scandal in the Czech Republic, the publication “Respect” recallthat in January 2014 – 9 months before the explosion near the town in North Moravia, at the Best Western Meteor Plaza Hotel to Prague were Denis Sergeev and Alexander Mishkin. It is unknown at this time whether they were preparing for the operation at the weapons depot at that time. Another of officially suspected in Bulgaria in the assassination attempt against Gebrev he was in the Czech Republic – that is Egor Gordienko, traveled under the name of George Gorshkov. He is was in Prague in February 2014, as well as on October 11 of the same year, when Anatoliy Chepiga was in the Czech capital.
On Saturday, Hristo Grozev from Bellingcat wrote in your Twitter accountthat the group will soon publish new revelations that not only Chepiga and Mishkin were in the Czech Republic in October 2014, but also several other members – including a management team – of unit 21955. He directly pointed out that Emelian Gebrev was poisoned half a year after the explosion of the cemeteries in the Czech Republic, from which he bought a shipment exactly on the day of the explosions. According to him, approximately at the same time there were explosions in Bulgarian arms depots, “which we assume were caused by the same GRU unit.“with a total of 8 agents who traveled to Bulgaria in late 2014 and early 2015.
“Important aspect: Mishkin and Chepiga were declared” Heroes of Russia “by Vladimir Putin in late 2014 / early 2015. We always thought it was because of their participation in Crimea. This successful operation in the Czech Republic, however , seems a much more plausible explanation, “Grozev added.
On Saturday, Respect presented a version according to which in 2014 Chepiga and Mishkin most likely placed an explosive device in a weapon shipment for Gebrev, which he was preparing for export to Ukraine. The plan was for the blast to take place in another country while the shipment was traveling, and the goal is to compromise the Bulgarian as a trader of special products, says a source well acquainted with the course of the investigation.