One of the prime suspects in the Skripal poisoning case, Russian GRU Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, was involved in the assassination of Chechen insurgent field commander Abdulwahid Edelgeriev in Istanbul in 2015, the Turkish news outlet Naber Turk reports.
Edelgeriev’s assassination was organized by a group of people which included Chepiga, who went by the name Andrey Sholkhov in this operation. A surveillance camera image is presented as proof.
The article’s writers explain away the differences in appearance between Chepiga and Sholkhov by proposing that the Russian operative may have had minor plastic surgery.
“After graduating from the diplomatic academy and several trips to Chechnya, together with his diploma Chepiga must have received the primary area where he would be stationed, where his experience would be put to use, and this was the countries of Asia and the East. And for his deployment location he also received a matching appearance through plastic surgery,” the article states.
Abdulwahid Edelgeriev was a Chechen fighter and a relative of Movladi Udugov, one of the main proponents of Wahhabism in Chechnya, who was killed in his own house in autumn 2015.
The British authorities announced that they hold two Russians responsible for the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury earlier this year: Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. Both are believed to work for Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).
A joint investigation by The Insider and Bellingcat uncovered Boshirov’s true identity: Anatoly Chepiga, a real GRU agent.
It was later discovered that Chepiga had been awarded the title “Hero of Russia” for supposedly “carrying out a peacekeeping mission”. Apparently he received the award for helping former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to escape from Ukraine. This was denied by Yanukovych’s attorney, although the Russian Interior Ministry confirmed that Chepiga was involved in the operation.