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Russian investigative reporter leaves country fearing prosecution for work

Former President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev met with senior officers of the Prosecutor General’s Office and representatives of the international prosecutorial community. (en.Kremlin.ru/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A Russian investigative journalist says he has left the country fearing possible prosecution for his work.

Sergei Kanev, who took part in a Bellingcat probe into the identity of the two main suspects accused by Britain in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, said he was on “vacation” in one of the Baltic states.

Speaking to the Russian news outlet RBK on September 29, Kanev said “There are a load of my investigations that have angered certain high-ranking officials.”

“This is not only about Boshirov and Petrov,” Kanev added, referring to the two main suspects in the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

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The investigative website Bellingcat on September 20 said a joint investigation with Business Insider had confirmed the two suspects, Ruslan Boshirov and Aleksandr Petrov, had links to Russian military intelligence, casting doubts on the two’s claims that they were mere tourists visiting England at the time of the attack.

On September 26, Bellingcat said it and Insider had determined that Borishov was actually Anatoly Chepiga, a member of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU who was awarded Russia’s highest award in 2014.

The Kremlin has denied any role in the nerve agent poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

The Skripals survived the attack with the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury on March 4.

A resident of a nearby English town later died after apparently having contact with the poison.

The poisoning has dealt a further blow to ties between Russia and the West, already strained over Syria and Russia’s actions in Ukraine.