A third Russian suspect the UK says was implicated in targeting the Skripals may have remained in the country, a Telegraph report has said, adding fresh intrigue to the never-ending poisoning controversy.
The suspect, identified as Sergey Fedotov, had allegedly traveled to the UK on the same day Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, the Telegraph reports. He was slated to leave the country on the same flight as two other suspects, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, but has suddenly aborted the ‘escape plan’, raising the prospect of him remaining in the UK at least for some time after, according to unnamed sources.
“It is not clear why Fedotov did not board the flight. But at the last minute he checked himself and his bags off it,” the sources maintained, adding, “he could still have been running around Britain.”
The third suspect’s real identity remains unclear as does his role in the Salisbury incident. The revelation seems to contradict what the newspaper reported last October, when it said“the third man” left the UK on March 4, 2018 with Petrov and Boshirov.
According to the Telegraph report, the 45-year-old Fedotov was using a passport to enter the UK that differed by only a few digits from the travel documents used by Petrov and Boshirov.
The Russian Embassy in the UK denounced the Telegraph’s latest claim, suggesting it could have been launched by British secret services. They are “trying to keep the Skripal poisoning story afloat by initiating targeted leaks based upon ‘informed sources’” to distract public attention from Brexit, the diplomatic mission claimed.
British authorities say the former double agent and his daughter were targeted by the Russian intelligence in a failed assassination plot. They maintain the Skripals were hit by a weapons-grade nerve agent called ‘Novichok’ that was smuggled into the country. London was prompt to pin the blame on Moscow, accusing it of ordering a targeted assassination of the former double agent.
Russia denied the UK’s allegations, insisting there was no need to target the retired officer. It offered its assistance in investigating the incident, but to no avail. As the story unfolded, a number of coincidences popped up.
For instance, a British military lab that studies chemical weapons also just happens to be located near Salisbury. The victims of the poison collapsed at the same time, hours after allegedly coming into contact with the substance on the door handle of Skripal’s front door. While the first responder turned out to be Britain’s most senior military nurse.
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