Bellingcat said that following two failed assassination attempts in Bulgaria in 2015, the man was accredited to a diplomatic post in Switzerland.
“From his new base in Geneva, he continued to work for GRU [Russia's military intelligence agency] under diplomatic cover, likely assisted various secret service operations in Switzerland, and may have taken part in the preparation of the Skripal poisoning,” Bellingcat reported.
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence agent convicted of spying for Britain, and his daughter Yulia were left fighting for their lives after they were exposed to the deadly Novichok nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury on March 5, 2018.
Bellingcat reported that the Russian diplomat it had investigated travelled and worked undercover in 2008-2015 under the assumed name of Georgy Aleksandrovich Gorshkov, born in 1977.
In fact, his real name, under which he was accredited to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, is Egor Aleksandrovich Gordienko, born in 1979, according to Bellingcat.
Bulgarian prosecutors have named “Georgy Gorshkov” as one of three Russians they have charged in absentia with the attempted murder of three Bulgarians in 2015.
The three Russians were charged with trying to kill arms factory owner Emilian Gebrev and two other Bulgarians in Sofia by “intoxication with an unidentified organophosphorus substance,” in a way that was “dangerous to the lives of many”, according to British daily The Guardian.
According to a report in the New York Times in October, a top-secret elite unit inside Russia's GRU military intelligence service has been used for a coordinated campaign to destabilise Europe.