An open-source investigation has found that a top Russian military intelligence officer coordinated last year’s Salisbury chemical attack from a London hideout using his phone and a few messaging apps.
The award-winning website Bellingcat said late on Friday that its joint analysis with the BBC helps establish the command structure Moscow’s GRU network of foreign agents used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and conduct other attacks.
The findings “shed light on the likely chain of command for this (and other) GRU overseas operations, with one coordinating senior officer communicating with headquarters in Moscow while the team on the ground receive limited to no new instructions,” the report said. “Evidence obtained by us on other international operations involving the same team suggests that this is a stable GRU operational model.”
British officials have identified the two Russians suspected of delivering the nerve agent to Salisbury as GRU agents Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga.