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'Unexplained Phone Call' Raises Eyebrows in Skripal Case

Authorities say 2 Russian suspects may have received a 'signal'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2019 7:55 AM CDT
In this file combination photo made available by the Metropolitan Police on Sept. 5, 2018, Alexander Mishkin, left (who also went by Alexander Petrov), and Anatoliy Chepiga (aka Ruslan Boshirov) are seen.   (Metropolitan Police via AP, file)

(Newser) – The poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal just slathered another layer of mystery on. The Guardian reports Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, the two Russians suspected of attacking the father and daughter in Salisbury, England, in March 2018 with a Novichok nerve agent, may have had some off-site assistance. Investigators are now revealing an "unexplained phone call" the pair allegedly received in London on March 4 last year, one day after they're suspected of traveling to Salisbury and putting the dangerous chemical on the door handle of Sergei Skripal's home. Only after receiving that call did they head to Heathrow to fly back to Russia.

"One theory is that the two waited to hear whether the attack had been a success, and the phone call was the signal to say it had been," a source tells the paper. "It could have been the confirmation that led them to head for the airport." Meanwhile, per the TASS Russian news agency, the Russian Embassy in England got ornery Sunday on Twitter, chastising the BBC for making what it calls "fiction films" about the Skripal poisoning and noting the broadcaster "would do better service to public if they pressed authorities to provide answers and proofs of what actually happened." (Read more Sergei Skripal stories.)

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