Williamson two-step: United Kingdom minister tweets & deletes congrats on ‘Salisbury suspect revealed’

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Williamson two-step: United Kingdom minister tweets & deletes congrats on ‘Salisbury suspect revealed’

Earlier this month British police named "Boshirev" and another man, "Alexander Petrov", as suspects in the poisoning that targeted former Russian double agent Sergey Skripal with a nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury in March this year.

The investigative group said it researched pictures of graduates of Russian military academies and found a man resembling Boshirov in a group photo.

Rushlan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov had already been roundly mocked for claiming that they were tourists in Salisbury and that a visit to the cathedral was thwarted by snow.

The investigative reporters used leaked files to establish Chepiga, a colonel, was deployed to Chechnya three times and was awarded a "Hero of Russia", Russia's highest state award, in 2014.

The group, Bellingcat, said Wednesday that the suspect, whose passport name was Ruslan Boshirov, is in fact Col. Anatoliy Chepiga, who in 2014 was awarded Russia's highest medal, the Hero of Russian Federation.

"The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview given to a Russian state-sponsored TV station are an insult to the public's intelligence", he said.

United Kingdom authorities believe the pair smeared the highly toxic chemical Novichok on a door handle at the Wiltshire home of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, leaving Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill on March 4.

Chepiga was born in 1979 in the village Nikolayevka in the Russian Far East and finished a prestigious military academy in the region, said Bellingcat.

The pair claimed they have been left fearing for their lives after Britain pointed to their involvement and said they were officers in Russian military intelligence service the GRU.

The report threatens to undermine Vladimir Putin's publicly held position that the two suspects had been identified by authorities as Russian civilians.

The investigators then tracked Chepiga to two addresses, one from 2003 that belonged to the barracks of the special forces brigade where he served, and another in Moscow from 2012. Other Russian soldiers who have recently received the award with few details mentioned have been found to be fighting covertly in eastern Ukraine or Syria.

Police have previously said they believed "Boshirev" and "Petrov" were aliases, not the men's real names.

The U.S. levied sanctions against Russian Federation at the end of August in retaliation for the attack.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March. Rowley unwittingly gifted the bottle to his partner Dawn Sturgess and both fell sick.

Bellingcat's latest revelation came after scouring the records of specialist military schools that would provide the training necessary for the covert work the two suspects engaged in.

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