British, French, Swiss counterintelligence forces and their partners have made a list of fifteen Russian GRU officers who were repeatedly spotted in the Alpine region, Le Monde reports.
In the spring of 2018, the European counetrintelligence agencies started to narrowly watch alleged Russian spies, which resulted in listing the above-mentioned individuals as the officers of Russia’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GRU). All of them are part of the unit that specializes in assassinations. In particular, it was involved in the attempted murder of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom.
In 2014–2018, the Russian officers arrived in France and settled there. Coming from London, Moscow, Spain and Switzerland, they regularly stayed in Haute-Savoie, a department near the border of Switzerland and France. According to the French side, there was sort of a logistical as well as material and technical base that the GRU used during their operations across Europe.
The incident caused a number of rows and triggered a diplomatic war between the West and the Kremlin.
In September 2018, he Insider and OSINT group Bellingcat published the results of its journalistic investigation regarding Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov whom the British authorities suspect of poisoning the former Russian agent and his daughter. According to the journalists, the real name of ‘Ruslan Boshirov’ is Anatoly Chepiga, a GRU Colonel and Hero of Russia, while ‘Alexander Petrov’ is GRU officer Alexander Mishkin in real life.