Nearly a year after the Salisbury incident, the number of Russian suspects implicated in the alleged Novichok poisoning by UK authorities is suddenly growing exponentially, with two others now being investigated by the police.
Citing “senior security sources” the Daily Mail reported Friday that the two suspects “posed as Russian tourists” to obtain a UK visa in March 2018, and are thought to have successfully returned back to their homeland.
According to the report, the two are alleged to have played “a much smaller role” and did not travel with primary “poisoners” Aleksandr Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to the cathedral city, which Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia had made their home.
While the information appears to have been leaked to the tabloid, government officials were expected to be briefed on the new suspects’ involvement “within weeks.”
Scotland Yard refused to confirm or deny the report saying that police “continue to pursue a number of lines of enquiries including identifying any suspects who may have been involved.”
The report comes days after the Telegraph published a story claiming that a Russian agent with a passport in the name of “Sergey Fedotov” aborted his plan to leave the UK on the same day as the Skripals fell ill, and on the same flight as the first two named suspects.
“It is not clear why Fedotov did not board the flight. But at the last minute he checked himself and his bags off it,” a source alleged to The Telegraph. “He could still have been running around Britain.”
“Citizen journalists” Bellingcat have claimed that Fedotov’s passport had a near-identical number to those of Petrov and Boshirov, and that he likely “flew back to Moscow from another European capital.”
Russian news outlet Fontanka has alleged that Fedotov, whose supposed role was first publicized in October last year, had previously been in the Czech Republic at the same time as Sergei Skripal in 2014, and was also implicated in the unsolved poisoning of a Bulgarian businessman in Sofia the following year.