Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General Sahak Karapetyan was killed in a helicopter crash on Thursday in the country’s Kostroma Oblast. Karapetyan was coordinating supervision for highly publicized criminal investigations, including the Skripal case, reported the Interfax news agency.
The crash is currently under investigation, but the source told Interfax that the preliminary cause is believed to be a late evening collision with trees.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has confirmed that Karapetyan was on board the helicopter.
“We are aware of the situation. According to preliminary information Sahak Albertovich was among the passengers,” a spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s office told the TASS news agency. “The pilot and the passengers died in the crash. The bodies will undergo identification.”
Former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had any program aimed at developing such a substance.
On September 5, British Prime Minister Theresa May informed the country’s parliament about the conclusions that investigators looking into the Salisbury incident had come to, saying that two Russians, believed to be GRU agents, were suspected of conspiracy to murder the Skripals. According to May, the assassination attempt was approved at “a senior level of the Russian state.” The Metropolitan Police published the suspects’ photos, saying their names were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
In an interview with RT that aired on September 13, Petrov and Boshirov said they had visited Great Britain for tourist purposes. According to them, they are businessmen not linked to the GRU and have nothing to do with the Skripal case.