Posted on September 27, 2018
The 39-year-old trained at one of Russia’s elite academies and served with a special forces unit under the command of the GRU – Russia’s military intelligence service. He earned more than 20 military awards for his service. He is believed to have transferred to Moscow around 2009, where he was given a false identity as Ruslan Boshirov. He has been working undercover for the past nine years. In December 2014, he was made a Hero of the Russian Federation. The medal, awarded in a secret ceremony, is typically handed out by the Russian president. It is only given to a handful of people each year. The timing suggests it was for operations in Ukraine. He and Petrov flew in to Gatwick Airport from Moscow on 2 March 2018 and visited Salisbury on two consecutive days, including 4 March, the day of the poisoning. Both men returned to Moscow on the same day. European arrest warrants and Interpol red notices have subsequently been issued for the pair. Russia does not extradite its own nationals.