Missing Hours: Skripals' Cellphones Reportedly Turned Off on Day of Attack

© REUTERS / Peter NichollsThe forensic tent, covering the bench where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found, is repositioned by officials in protective suits in the centre of Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018
The forensic tent, covering the bench where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found, is repositioned by officials in protective suits in the centre of Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018 - Sputnik International
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More details have emerged about the alleged poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter as British police struggle to piece together their movements on the day of the attack.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia turned off the GPS tracking on their mobile telephones for four hours on the day they were poisoned by a nerve agent, The Sun on Sunday reported.

The devices' GPS signals which identify positions were not in operation during a crucial period in which their movements remain unknown, the newspaper wrote.

This may mean they were poisoned after switching off their phones to keep a clandestine meeting secret.

"The most likely reason would be if they were going to meet someone and wanted to remain off the radar. This would fit with the tradecraft Skripal used as a spy," The Sun on Sunday quoted an unnamed source as saying.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman refused to discuss any details when meeting with reporters on Sunday.

British Military personnel wearing protective coveralls work to remove a vehicle connected to the March 4 nerve agent attack in Salisbury, from a residential street in Gillingham, southeast England on March 14, 2018 - Sputnik International
Russian MoD Says A234 Nerve Agent Allegedly Used Against Skripal Developed in US
According to the information which has so far been made available to the public, at 9:19 a.m. on March 4 Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia visited the graves of Skripal’s wife and son in a local cemetery in Salisbury.

At 1:30 p.m. they parked their car and dropped by a local pub. Shortly after that they dined at a restaurant.

According to the Times, mobile providers have informed police about the Skripals’ phone communications on the day of the attack.

On March 4, Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with what the British authorities say was a nerve agent, dubbed A-234, allegedly developed in Russia.

The pair remains in critical, but stable condition in a Salisbury District Hospital.

Prime Minister Theresa May was quick to blame Moscow for the attack and expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Moscow responded by sending home a similar number of British diplomats.

Police officers seal off the road on which Russian Sergei Skripal lives in Salisbury, Britain, March 7, 2018 - Sputnik International
Skripal's Close Friend Afraid of Going to Police, Fears Consequences - Reports
Russia has denied any role in the Skripals’ poisoning with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying that Moscow is ready to cooperate on the case if London adheres to all the pertinent procedures prescribed by the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

President Putin has said that it is “nonsense and absurd to claim that Russia would do anything like that before the elections and the World Cup.”

He emphasized that Russia had destroyed all its stockpiles of military-grade chemicals under the watchful eyes of international observers.  Putin also said that Russia is open to working with London to investigate the poisoning, provided the UK is willing, which is not the case at the moment.

READ MORE: Who Could Benefit From Poisoning Former Spy Sergei Skripal

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