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Britain investigates new Skripal suspect with Bulgaria

AFP  |  Sofia 

and are investigating a third suspect in the who has also been linked to a 2015 in Bulgaria, the British to said Monday.

Britain's made the comments after talks with Bulgarian and Chief

"We are continuing a close partnership together with a joint team looking into the factual underpinning of these allegations," Hopkins said at a televised conference.

A report published last week by the investigative website identified a hitherto unknown third suspect in last year's attack in the English city of on former Russian and his daughter.

Both had to be hospitalised after being exposed to the highly toxic nerve agent Novichok in an attack the says was "almost certainly" approved by the Russian state.

According to Bellingcat, the third suspect is a Russian known under the alias "Sergey Fedotov".

The site said Fedotov had arrived in two days before the Skripals were poisoned and was possibly involved in the attack.

has already used open-source techniques to identify two Russian military intelligence officers, and Alexander Mishkin, accused by of carrying out the attack.

Despite Russian denials that they were involved, both men are now the subject of EU sanctions.

also argues that "Fedotov" may have been involved in the of Bulgarian Emiliyan Gebrev, his son and a in 2015.

The Tsatsarov on Monday confirmed reports by Bellingcat and in Bulgarian media that "Fedotov" had travelled to three times in 2015; in February, again in April -- shortly before -- and finally in May.

Tsatsarov said that the 2015 poisoning was "most probably" carried out using the insecticide Chlorpyrifos, traces of which were found on the coffee machine in Gebrev's home.

Gebrev collapsed at a reception he was hosting in on 28 April 2015 and fell into a

His son and one of his company executives were also treated for poisoning symptoms although all three recovered.

Tsatsarov said that the probe into the had been reopened in October 2018, and that UK authorities had "been provided with full access to all the documents and materials on this case".

Bulgarian said Gebrev could have been targeted by for exporting arms to

The attack, the first offensive use of in since World War II, caused an international outcry and prompted a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats by Western nations -- but not by

While Skripal and his daughter survived the attack, a British woman died last June after her partner picked up a discarded perfume bottle that investigators believe was used to carry the Novichok.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 19:05 IST