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‘They left home and drove toward the laboratory’ The Russian Embassy’s (rather conspiratorial) theory of the Skripals’ poisoning

Meduza
A hazardous materials team works near the bench in Salisbury where the Skripals were found after being poisoned. March 8, 2018
A hazardous materials team works near the bench in Salisbury where the Skripals were found after being poisoned. March 8, 2018
Ben Stansall / AFP / Scanpix / LETA

The Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom has published a press release in response to local media reports about the lives of Sergei and Yulia Skripal since their poisoning. According to The Telegraph, the two Russians are no longer being held in isolation, but medical experts have continued to observe them closely.

The Russian Embassy pointed to a different detail of the Skripals’ case that has come to light in news reports. “To this day, the investigation has not permitted the public to know where S. and Y. Skripal were and what they did after they left home on the morning of March 4 and drove toward the laboratory at Porton Down with their telephones apparently turned off,” the press release claims.

British media outlets had already reported in the spring that the Skripals’ telephones were turned off for four hours on March 4. At around the same time, police forces used local sightings of the Skripals’ car to propose and publish the route they may have taken. The vehicle was sighted in the London Road neighborhood, which is located between Salisbury and Porton Down.

The embassy’s press release does not mention the fact that London Road is also the location of the cemetery where Sergei Skripal’s wife, Lyudmila, and his son, Alexander, are buried. The cemetery was closed for a month after the attack on the Skripals and tested for toxic substances. No traces of the chemical weapon Novichok that was allegedly deployed against the Skripals were found in the cemetery.

The official British investigation has proposed that while the Skripals were out driving that morning, their suspected attackers, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, approached their home and applied the toxic substance to their doorknob. British investigators have since named GRU agents Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga as the men behind the aliases Petrov and Boshirov. In contradiction to the Russian Embassy’s announcement, local police had previously reported that the Skripals returned to their home in Salisbury after driving through London Road and proceeded to eat lunch in a local restaurant, where traces of poison were later found. Shortly afterward, Yulia and Sergei Skripal were found on a nearby bench with symptoms of poisoning.