Bellingcat claims that a high-ranking Russian military intel officer named Denis Sergeev was in the UK under the alias of Sergey Fedotov at the time of the poisoning drama in Salisbury – and, “notably,” on eve of the Brexit vote.
The UK-based organization that touts itself as a citizen-journalism outfit published a report on Thursday, saying that Sergeev is the real name of the man who it previously connected to the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and another poisoning case in Bulgaria.
The report is part of a series in which Bellingcat offers “open source” or leaked data to connect the Salisbury affair with the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency.
The fresh report fails to explain the chain of reasoning that led Bellingcat to believe that Fedotov and Sergeev are the same person, focusing instead on the background of Sergeev and the travel history of Fedotov. However, it promises to publish the evidence later, saying it was obtained despite the Russian government allegedly trying to erase Sergeev’s public record.
Sergeev is said to be an elite graduate of a military diplomatic academy in Moscow. He has a current rank of at least a colonel, and is involved in a string of shady business arrangements, it claims.
Fedotov’s travel records put him in Britain in March 2018, when the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia allegedly occurred. He was supposedly also in Bulgaria in April 2015, when a local arms trader fell ill after another reported poisoning, which Bellingcat implies was an attempted murder by Fedotov.
Bellingcat claimed he made two other trips to London in March and April 2016.
“Notably, or perhaps entirely coincidentally, these two trips were shortly before and after the Brexit referendum,” the website said.
Fedotov is also said to have traveled on one occasion with Aleksandr Petrov, the person earlier accused by the British government of attempting to kill Skripal with a “military-grade” poison. Bellingcat earlier said that Petrov is an alias of Aleksandr Mishkin, a high-ranking doctor working for the GRU.
Since being established by Eliot Higgins in 2014, Bellingcat has become a darling of the mainstream media, which rarely questions the authenticity of its research. Higgins has since become a fellow at the Atlantic Council, and the “researchers”have been promoted as a trusted source by the shady UK-government-funded influence outfit, the Integrity Initiative.