Bellingcat's Christo Grozev says GRU operatives were "directly involved" in the takeover of city councils and the "fake idea of local defence units." A resident of Mishkin's village believed he was involved in the extraction of Yanukovych after the Maidan protests but there is no proof. The Independent agency reported this.
Incomplete border crossing data obtained by Bellingcat shows that in the period of 2010-2013, Mishkin traveled — under his undercover persona of Petrov — multiple times to Ukraine, and often crossed by car into and back from the self-declared Transnistrian Republic, where he stayed for short periods of time. His last trip to Ukraine was in mid-December 2013. Mishkin’s travel itinerary from 2016 and on was reported previously by Bellingcat.
Russians Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov gave an interview to the RT channel, in which they stated that they were engaged in entrepreneurship rather than working in the GRU, and arrived in Salisbury to rest and look at the Salisbury Cathedral. Petrov and Boshirov said that they indeed were in Salisbury on March 4, the day when the Skripals were poisoned.
“In the latter part of 2014, President Putin bestowed Alexander Mishkin with the Hero of the Russian Federation Award. People closely familiar with Mishkin’s family reported to us that they believe Russia’s highest award was given for Mishkin’s activities “either in Crimea or in relation to [former Ukrainian president] Yanukovych,” Bellingcat reports.
In addition, one source close to Mishkin’s grandmother (who is now in her 90s, and as a former doctor is still revered in the village) told us that the reason for the award is top secret, but that the understanding in the village was that it was “for Crimea or [for former Ukrainian president Viktor] Yanukovych,” the implication being that the award had either something to do with the Crimean annexation or with helping Yanukovych flee Ukraine.
As it was reported earlier, Aleksandr Petrov, suspected of poisoning Sergei Skripal, is actually a military doctor of Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Aleksandr Mishkin.
According to Bellingcat, Aleksandr Mishkin was born on 13.07.1979 in the village of Loyga, in the Archangelsk District in Northern European Russia. He studied and graduated from one of Russia’s elite Military Medical Academies, and was trained as a military doctor for the Russian naval armed forces.