The special forces brigade in which Anatoliy Chepiga served carried out secret missions in Ukraine for which it is believed he was awarded Russia’s highest honour.
Colonel Chepiga – the Salisbury nerve agent assassin travelling under the false identity Ruslan Boshirov – had graduated in 2001 from his military academy in far eastern Russia on the Chinese border, 5,000 miles and a five-day train journey from Moscow.
Passing out with honours, he was assigned to the 14th Spetsnaz Brigade, stationed in Khabarovsk, again in the far east of Russia and 20 miles from the Chinese border.
From there, Col Chepiga served three tours in Chechnya in the brutal second Chechen war.
Russia’s Spetsnaz special forces…