This file combination photo made available by the Metropolitan Police on September 5, 2018, shows men identified as Alexander Petrov, left, and Ruslan Boshirov.
Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists the Kremlin would not check out a report by British investigative group Bellingcat that the suspect it identifies as military doctor Alexander Mishkin was made a Hero of Russian Federation, one of the country's highest awards.
The website said records show Fedotov visited Britain in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and left the country on March 4 this year, the same day as two other GRU agents who have already been named.
British authorities don't dispute the identifications. In the past, the group has focused on the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine and chemical attacks in Syria.
The head of the SBU also said that the Russian intelligence services made a mistake and underestimated the possibility of the UK.
The head of the Insider, Bellingcat's Russian partner organization, called the GRU "stupid" for allowing its agents to be found so easily. Roman Dobrokhotov said. "And what is the chaos inside the system if all this information appears to be so open and easy to access for anybody, even for two journalists with laptops, like us with Bellingcat".
Bellingcat, which based its probe on passport information, residents' databases, vehicle registration documents and phone records, determined that the 39-year-old Mishkin grew up in Loyga before moving to St. Petersburg, where he studied medicine at the elite Kirov Military Medical Academy.
Two former students at the academy confirmed Mishkin was the man British authorities identified as Alexander Petrov, Bellingcat said. Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat.
"The inclusion of a trained military doctor on the team implies that the objective of the mission has been different than information gathering or other routine espionage activities".
But to them he is just a warm-hearted local boy, a "Hero of Russia" who has made a successful career as a military doctor thanks to his hard work and courage.
The researchers said that he was recruited by the GRU "at some point before 2003" and moved to Moscow in around 2009 where he adopted the identity of Alexander Petrov. With a passport in that name often went to the Ukraine and the breakaway Transnistria. It said that he too had received Russia's highest award the same year in a secret ceremony in the Kremlin. "Yes, that's him. He looks like his dad and grandmother", he said.
This was later refuted by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said that Russian databases have no information about Chepiga or about a Chepiga being awarded the highest national merit. In June, two area residents who apparently came across a discarded vial that contained the poison fell ill; one of them died.
Most people did not respond to the inquiry but one, who requested complete anonymity, said they had recognised Dr Mishkin as the suspect who was interviewed under the name of Alexander Petrov by the Russia Today (RT) television channel. He's one of them. "I think the last couple of operations have failed, but maybe that's due to overstretch or over-ambition on their part".