News Bulgaria names Russians accused of poisoning related to the...

Bulgaria names Russians accused of poisoning related to the Skripal case

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SOFIA (Reuters) – The Bulgarian public prosecutor’s office on Friday named the three Russians accused of attempting to murder three Bulgarians, whose poisoning is being investigated for possible links with the 2018 nerve agent attack on the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

Prosecutors said they had charged Sergey Viacheslavovich Fedotov, Sergey Viktorovich Pavlov, and Georgi Gorshkov in absentia.

They said the men who used false identities when traveling abroad were currently living in Moscow.

Fedotov also went under the pseudonym D.V.S. Prosecutors said. The initials match the name Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeev, a senior officer in the Russian GRU military secret service who, according to the Bellingcat investigation website, operated internationally under the name Sergey Fedotov.

In October 2018, the Russian news website named Fontanka Fedotov as a suspect in the Skripal case.

Moscow has never commented on the identity of the GRU staff, but has denied involvement in the Skripal poisoning.

“We have identified the men. The names we have revealed are the ones we have worked with so far. We believe that the initials that we have published are their real identities,” said a spokeswoman for the prosecutor at Sofia told Reuters.

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Between April 28 and May 4, 2015, the three Russians were accused of trying to kill arms maker Emilian Gebrev and two other Bulgarians in Sofia by “poisoning them with an unidentified organophosphorus substance” in a way that many dangerous “was”.

Gebrev and the other two victims fell ill, but survived.

Prosecutors said they would cooperate with US and UK services in the investigation.

Bulgaria, a narrow satellite of Moscow during the Soviet era, refused to join its allies in the European Union and NATO to exclude Russian diplomats in 2018 because of the Skripal case.

But it has recently taken a tougher stance. Since October, it has kicked out three Russian envoys accused of espionage and refused a visa for an incoming Russian military attaché.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Christina Fincher)

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