Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov
Not for the first time in the Skripal Case, there are some distinctly odd things to come out of an official timeline. This time, it is the timeline put out by the Metropolitan Police on 5th September, when they formally accused two people - named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, of being the perpetrators (although according to Assistant Commissioner, these may well be aliases and so they may not be called Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov after all. Ho hum!).

In addition to the timeline, the Met released a series of images showing the alleged assassins. I want to concentrate this piece on three particular images, but before I do, first some more general comments.

Firstly (sarcasm alert), I just wanted to say how pleasing it is to see that Scotland Yard finally found some CCTV footage, after apparently being unable to find any of Mr Skripal and Yulia Skripal from that day (even though it does exist), and in the end having to settle for two seconds of grainy footage of two people walking through The Maltings.

Secondly, one of the most obvious things about these images is that they show the two men doing whatever they are doing in broad daylight. This alone is enough to raise questions about the validity of the claim that these men were GRU Intelligence Officers on a mission to assassinate Mr Skripal. Not being an Intelligence officer or an assassin, I cannot be 100% sure, but I'm reasonably persuaded that the normal modus operandi is to do such things with minimum exposure, not in full glare of a plethora of cameras.

Comment: Then again, that is exactly what the Mossad did, for example, when they assassinated Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010.

And thirdly, the images and the timeline allege that the two men came to Salisbury from London on Saturday 3rd March, when the snow from the "Beast from the East" was still wreaking havoc on the transport system, on a reconnaissance mission. This visit lasted for approximately 1 hour and 46 minutes - which was apparently enough time for them to get their bearings, stake out Mr Skripal's house, walk across town to find the "right bin" for their plan (in Catherine Street), before heading back to catch the train. I might wonder, since they went to all that trouble, why they didn't just do the "door handle" job there and then. Mr Skripal was out, after all. Why bother staking out his house on the Saturday, and finding a bin on the other side of town, so that they could return on the Sunday to the very thing that they could have done on the Saturday? Not the sharpest tools in the box, these GRU Intelligence officers, are they?

Anyway, the particular images I want to draw attention to are Image 6, Image 7 and Image 8, but before I do, I want to ask you a question. Just supposing these men had been sent from Moscow to England to carry out an assassination using a deadly nerve agent in the Cathedral City of Salisbury, and assuming they chose to do it by spraying gel (don't blame me - I didn't make that up) in broad daylight on the door handle of the target's house, would you then expect them to:

a) Walk quickly to their target's house and then go back to the station as quickly as possible to try to get the next train back, so as to leave the country as soon as possible?

b) Or would you expect them to walk to the house, then walk back past the station, missing the next train, and pop into town for an hour or so (sightseeing or shopping perhaps), in order to discard the substance in a bin over on the other side of town (having apparently resealed it), before sauntering back to the station to get the 14:27?

The Met wants you to believe that these alleged GRU Intelligence officers not only chose one of the most stupid ways of "targeting" someone that could ever be chosen (stupid because it isn't actually very targeted), in broad daylight, but that after they carried out their mission, they walked past the train station and went into town for an hour or so. Ho Hum!

Anyway, let's look closer at those images (6,7 and 8):
salisbury petrov cctv
According to the Met's official timeline, Image 6 was taken at 13:05. Where are they? They are on the bridge opposite The Mill pub. Which means that they apparently left the train station, allegedly went to Christie Miller Road, and then instead of catching the next train, went into town, and in this image they are seen returning, heading in the direction of the train station.

Image 7 is then even more interesting. The Met timeline for this is 13:08, that is, three minutes after Image 6. It is of interest for four reasons:
Firstly, they appear to have stopped walking at that point, and one of them has his hand up as if he's trying to sight something afar off.

Secondly, this is on the opposite side of the road to the one they were on at 13:05. Why is this a bit odd? Because if you were walking to the station from the place they were at 13:05, you wouldn't need to cross the road. Crossing the road, which the CCTV shows they did, just means having to cross back over again to get to the station a bit further up. Didn't they remember which side of the road they needed to be on when they were walking from Christie Miller Road to the town centre? What do they teach them in Russian military schools!

Thirdly, the image is taken at 13:08, but the next image (Image 8), which shows them entering the train station, is taken at 13:50. Again, unless these guys were doing some shopping, this is faintly ridiculous. The walk from the location in Image 7 at 13:08 to the station in Image 8 is doable in less than 5 minutes. And with the next train at 13:27, you would have expected them to get there for that train, in order to get out as quickly as possible. Instead, they missed the 13:27, and presumably got the 14:27. Which begs the questions: Why did they only get to the station at 13:50? Why did they not get the earlier train? And what were they doing in between?

Fourthly, the road they are standing next to - Summerlock Approach (going to the right) - is the road that Mr Skripal's car drove down to get to Sainsbury's car park a little while after. He apparently parked his car at approximately 13:40 (according to the official timeline), and was seen driving down the Devizes Road (about 3 minutes drive away) at about 13:34. Now, this of course may be pure coincidence. Then again, maybe it's not.
I cannot possibly know the answer to this last point, and would need to see further CCTV footage to be able to answer it. But what I do know is that it sure doesn't take 42 minutes to get from the junction at Summerlock Approach to the station. That's 35 minutes or so too long. So what did they do in that missing 42 minutes?

And above all, when are we going to hear from the man that they apparently targeted?