Bul­garia to probe 3rd sus­pect in poi­son­ing

Al­leged Rus­sian agent sus­pected in at­tack on ex-spy in Eng­land

The Detroit News - - NATION & WORLD - BY VE­SELIN TOSHKOV As­so­ci­ated Press

Sofia, Bul­garia — Bul­garia plans to in­ves­ti­gate re­ports that a third sus­pect in the nerve agent poi­son­ing of a Rus­sian ex-spy in Eng­land al­legedly was in­volved in a 2015 poi­son­ing in Bul­garia, a Bul­gar­ian party of­fi­cial said Sun­day.

Tsve­tan Tsve­tanov of the rul­ing GERB party said the probe was be­ing co­or­di­nated with for­eign part­ners. He told Bul­garia’s bTV chan­nel that in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials plan to present ev­i­dence on the topic Thurs­day to a par­lia­men­tary home­land se­cu­rity com­mit­tee.

“I am cer­tain that the nec­es­sary co­or­di­na­tion has al­ready been set up be­tween the Bul­gar­ian, Bri­tish and Euro­pean au­thor­i­ties on the case and they are work­ing ac­tively on it,” Tsve­tanov said.

In­ves­tiga­tive group Belling­cat has re­ported an al­leged Rus­sian mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence agent ar­rived in Bul­garia in April 2015, a few days be­fore Bul­gar­ian busi­ness­man Emil­ian Ge­brev was poi­soned by an uniden­ti­fied sub­stance.

Ge­brev, an arms in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tive, sur­vived but au­thor­i­ties still don’t know who poi­soned him.

Belling­cat said on its web­site the 45-year-old Rus­sian agent trav­eled un­der the alias Sergei Vy­ach­eslavovich Fe­do­tov and had been “con­clu­sively iden­ti­fied as an agent of Rus­sian mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence” for Mos­cow’s GRU agency.

Belling­cat said Fe­do­tov also was sus­pected of be­ing in­volved in the Novi­chok nerve-agent poi­son­ing of Rus­sian ex-spy Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter, Yu­lia, in the English city of Sal­is­bury. He ar­rived in Bri­tain two days be­fore the March 2018 at­tack.

Both Skri­pals sur­vived af­ter weeks in the hos­pi­tal and af­ter their re­lease were taken to an undis­closed lo­ca­tion for their safety, the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment has said.

Bri­tish of­fi­cials have blamed the at­tack on the GRU and charged two Rus­sian sus­pects. The men trav­eled un­der the names Alexan­der Petrov and Rus­lan Boshi­rov.

Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties de­nied in­volve­ment and Mos­cow re­fused to ex­tra­dite them to Bri­tain.

Bri­tain’s Metropoli­tan Po­lice said its in­ves­ti­ga­tion team “con­tin­ues to pur­sue a num­ber of lines of in­quiry, in­clud­ing iden­ti­fy­ing any other sus­pects who may have been in­volved in car­ry­ing out or plan­ning the at­tack.”

“We are not pre­pared to dis­cuss fur­ther de­tails of what re­mains an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” the force said in a state­ment.

The Skri­pal poi­son­ings set off a wave of re­crim­i­na­tions be­tween Bri­tain and Mos­cow, prompt­ing the ex­pul­sion of dozens of diplo­mats from Rus­sia, the U.K. and coun­tries that are Bri­tain’s al­lies.

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