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Even in Russia, Men Accused in Salisbury Attack Leave Few Traces

Mr. Boshirov’s pages on Facebook and VKontakte, a Russian social media site, identify him as a graduate of Moscow State University’s geography department who specialized in land hydrology and worked at Headway, a Moscow company that operates a system for monitoring drug purchases. The only photo on his Facebook account, uploaded in October 2014, shows a view of Old Town Square in Prague.

The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, reported that until this week, Mr. Boshirov had a single friend on Facebook, a woman named Yuliya Chopivskaya from Dnepr, Ukraine. She told The Daily Mail that her only encounter with the man who identified himself as Ruslan was about five years ago in Prague and lasted for just half an hour, after which she added him as a friend on Facebook.

After Mr. Boshirov was charged in the nerve agent attack, Ms. Chopivskaya was inundated with inquiries and chose to delete him from her friends list. She said she did not recognize the man in the photograph released by the British authorities.

A news channel on the messaging service Telegram reported that the email address used to register Mr. Boshirov’s Facebook page was associated with an account on Moy Mir, another social media website. That account, according to the Telegram news channel, Chudesa OSINT, had subscribed to a group called “Men’s Club” and downloaded a game called “Zombie Fight,” all typical online activities.

The Moy Mir account was active even after the poisonings last spring, with the most recent login registered on July 19.

Less is known about Aleksandr Petrov, a common combination of name and surname for Russians.

According to the flight manifests, Fontanka reported, he was born on July 13, 1979. The site found that someone with that name and birth date worked at Microgen, a Russian state-owned pharmaceutical company specializing in vaccines. But when contacted by RT_Russian, a Telegram channel associated with the state television channel RT, this Aleksandr Petrov said it was a case of mistaken identity, as he had never traveled to London.

Fontanka reported that the passports the two men used to fly to Britain had numbers suggesting they were issued no earlier than 2016, and flight records show that from September 2016 to March 2018, they visited between them five European cities: Amsterdam, Geneva, London, Milan and Paris.

Source: NYT > World

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