Russian militant leaders hide in Crimea and Russia, using fake identities, - Bellingcat

Igor Bezler and Oleg Ivannikov received the faked passports, posing themselves as Igor Beregovoy and Andrei Laptev, respectively
15:02, 8 November 2019

Open source

Bellingcat, the international volunteer group of investigating reporters set the fake identities of two Russian mercenaries, Igor Bezler and Oleg Ivannikov who were previously involved in Donbas conflict. Currently, both are hiding in the occupied Crimea and Russia. Bellingcat reported that on their website.

The men received faked passports, now posing themselves as Igor Beregovoy and Andrei Laptev, respectively. Neither of them was registered in the database of Russia's taxpayers; neither of the two has any identification numbers.

The reporters claimed that agents of the Russian GRU (Russian abbreviation for Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoe Upravlenie; the Chief Intelligence Department, - 112 International) use this scheme to provide cover for their operatives.

Related: Extradition of Tsemakh to Russia to not change anything in trial on MH17 case, - Bellingcat investigator

"The ten-digit number for internal Russian passports are easy to decipher. The first two digits indicate the issuing office for the passport, the next two digits indicate the year that the form was printed, meaning that the passport was likely given in either this year or the following one, and the final six digits are the passport’s serial number. Thus, the “passport neighbors” for “Beregovoy” belong to other people issued their documents in the same batch as him", the agency reported, explaining that the fake passports were developed simultaneously.

Bezler has been staying in the occupied Simferopol since October 2014. Prior to that, he led the illegal armed gangs of Russian mercenaries in Donbas. Ukraine's state security service, the SBU considers him a GRU agent.

Ivannikov, the GRU officer with callsign Orion is involved in the MH17 investigation; he also served as coordinator of Wagner private military company in Donbas. According to Bellingcat, Ivannikov is currently in Russia.

Related: New defendants may appear in MH17 case, - Bellingcat founder

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